after the injera, the wat, the niter kibby – a poem … and your Wednesday Writing Prompt


his hands flutter over and on the kebero
a world constructed in the moments of sound
a world razed in the moments of silence
a rhythm of birth and rebirth
of heartbeat and life-blood

he’d gone to Africa, this young man
to chase down his roots
to buy exotic drums
to make rhythms with his brothers
to sing with his sisters
to learn, to grow, to come home and teach

he was full of grace, brimming with jazz
just rocking his universe, rolling with spirit
alight with green and gold,
the breath of wild savannas and
wilder cheetahs, monkey pranks
and elephantine tuskedness

what, i had to ask, was the take-away
after the safaris and the drumming
after the injera, the wat, the niter kibby
and berbere spices, the many fine meals
downed with ambo wuhteh

I met a sister as i was driving a forlorn road. She was walking alongside, carrying a bundle of wood and I stopped, offered her a lift. No, she said, NO! If I ride today, I’ll want to ride tomorrow. It’s a recipe for unhappiness. She’s right, you know, he said, from wanting comes despair …

and so i drum, just drum, he said
his hands fluttering over and on the kebero
a world constructed in the moments of sound
a world razed in the moments of silence
a rhythm of birth and rebirth and peace of heart

© 2016, poem, Jamie Dedes; photograph by Karl Heinrich and generously released into the public domain; Kebero, a conical hand drum, for the traditional music of Ethiopia and Eritrea  


Tell us in poem about the most important take-aways you experienced from a vacation or other travel. Leave your poem/s or a link to it in the comments section below. All poems shared on theme will be published next Tuesday. The deadline for response is Monday evening, 8:30 p.m. PDT. All are welcome – encouraged – to join in: novice, emerging or pro. It’s about getting to connecting with other poets, showcasing your talent and having your say. If it’s your first time sharing a poem for Wednesday Writing Prompt, please send a brief bio and photograph to These are posted with the work of first participants by way of introduction.