by Kasey Shultz
“Tanzania’s elections go off well, except on Zanzibar“-The Economist
They say you are a “sad, dark star,
A grim address, a cursed isle.”
They say you are different,
Dangerous, on the brink of disaster.
They say you will not rest easy,
Soon, they say, you will rise up.
They say they found bombs,
That it’s only a matter of time.
They say you cheated,
You say it’s rigged
Six months ago, you took me in,
Wrapping me in headscarves and sunsets,
Saturating my skin with aromas of the spice trade,
Bustling around me in a whirl of flashing color,
A haze of competing smells,
All of life bursting into shape around me.
I lost myself in the shade of your streets,
Grew into the taste of your language,
Lived to the soundtrack of calls to prayer and bollywood films.
But now you are reduced to a line of text on the screen,
A string of questions in the air,
An item of momentary interest,
Passed over for worries about migrants, guns, and Taylor Swift.
But you are an entire world,
Living, breathing, hoping, praying, and dying
In a thousand square miles of history.
There is nothing sad or dark about you.
Your eyes may shine with hope or anger
But they are never broken
Because the tears that fill them are promises.
And when you smile, you shine as bright as any star.
They say you’ll never make it,
They say you’ll fall apart.
They say you are a sad, dark star,
They say you are a cursed isle.
But we know better.