The book group come tonight, including Graham.
I’m giving them a vegetable tagine
and then fruit salad – some healthy food
to counter his usual diet of steak and chips.
In Waitrose I fill the trolley with fresh produce:
spinach, onions, and sweet potatoes. Then melon,
pomegranates, grapes and oranges.
Fresh ginger, garlic, cinnamon.
Fara’s on the till, her lovely face
framed by a purple headscarf. What news? I ask.
Still nothing. She could be dead. And they have no food.
It’s too dangerous to work in the fields.
Fara showed me her sister’s photo once –
a twelve-year-old, beaming on the little screen.
Soldiers came in trucks, the villagers said.
She disappeared, with all her friends.
On YouTube, I’ve seen the leader yelling
Boko Haram! his right arm brandishing
an AK47. Masked guards stand behind him,
beside a tank. A light breeze lifts their scarves.
Back home I chop the onions and soften them
in heated olive oil, then add the spices.
Tonight we’re discussing Heart of Darkness.
Graham wanted something by Stephen King.
From A Suitcase Filled with Hope (Live Canon, 2021)
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