Turning and turning in the shaking trotro
The mate cannot hear the passengers
Coins fall apart; the polythene bag cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the driver.
The blood-stained abuse is loosed, and everywhere
The innocence of the driver’s mother is drowned;
The insults lack conviction, while the worst of the passengers
Are full of passionate nkwasiasem
Surely some soldier is at hand;
Surely the Second Slapping is at hand.
The Second Slapping! Hardly are those words out
When a vast image out of The military van
Troubles my sight: three angry soldiers approach the trotro
A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
Is moving its slow thighs, while at the same time
The mate and driver begin to say their last prayers
The darkness drops again but now I know
That twenty centuries of military training
Were vexed to nightmare by the cheeks of a repentant driver.
And what rough beatings, this driver had received.
Just because he made a wrong turn
To avoid hitting a pregnant lady who
Slouches towards maternity, to give birth.