Melancholy -By Robbie Ajjuah Fantini

Roberta Turkson

He sits from dusk to nightfall sipping whiskey
and dripping lines, sometimes from his eyes
Onto paper, he paints roses with more thorns than petals
He paints trees with stripped barks and gnarly roots protruding
out of the sun-baked ground, it’s leaves cupped,
upturned to the blazing sky as if begging for rain
He dips his pen in the bottle
scratches it across the paper again
and the looks of a rocky dry riverbed emerge,
shaming the sky for withholding rain while permitting the sun
to beat like high noon all day long
It’s so dry
the few bony-hipped cows scattered across the sorry excuse for a meadow hardly move
the flies can have a free ride on their backs
there’s no strength to whisk them off
the poet picks his whiskey glass to take a sip but it’s empty,
the bottle is too
the fountain of his pen and inkwell is all he has left to draw from
and he’s drunk, he must saturate this page with something fluid
and blot the parchedness out of the picture
because the cows will soon come home
thirsty for something to drink.

Robbie Ajjuah Fantini is the author of Talking Robbish, a collection of poems and The Children of Abuta Village, a  folktale styled children’s reader. Visit her website: for more information about her work.

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