Dear L

I have come to know you through your many stories,

and as I close my eyes, I envision your experiences

as prophecy, blood soaked rice paddies, washed away

by monsoon rain. Then war comes again. And fresh blood

runs through crimson streams anew. I have respected you

from the outset, yet at times I think you’ve taken mysticism

too far. However, I have only become world-wary abstractly,

and can count the number of dead bodies

I’ve seen in the flesh on one hand, unlike you. Some people

are possessed with an unhealthy obsession of death,

and in the process forget about life. You’ve taught me

that the two are intertwined, and even though you’ve witnessed the unspeakable,

you still somehow find the lost grain of hope in any dire situation.

I want to thank you for your sable hand of guidance,

always grasping an ebony cane crafted in the cradle of humanity, Africa,

the continent whose descendants you have taught me more about than anyone else.

I am grateful.

“Walk in Beauty” and endure.

-your loving friend,