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We’re known, my family, in the village for farting,
where butter pear trees tremble at nyanya’s flatulence,
where the cow-tail switch is for clearing air first and fanning flies second.
 
The first time they heard me poot,
Kinyui cackles sang from grass-roof mud huts;
the first time I made chickens scatter with broken wind,
the first time ugali passed through as more gas than solid:
Aisee! You farted! Ah jambda! Ni sawa, ni sawa, ni sawa.
 
And in my cloud of common stank,
surrounded by Swahili and earth’s first joke,
I knew belonging.

 

 

 

Mukethe Kawinzi spends her time traipsing among the flora and fauna of New England. She works in the field of healthy food access and lives in New Haven, Connecticut. Poetry is her newest adventure.

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