The Neighbor’s Son
I look at the hens running by
Their beaks on the ready, eating everything and anything
Oh my God, look at that! Did it just eat that snail, and the waste the little girl just retched?
Why, these hens are reckless! They can eat anything to fill their not so big stomachs,
Gluttonies by nature, and no they don’t care what you think….so can you please keep your opinion to yourself, I won’t remember save your time cause what’s the use?
I shake my head and smile sadly, for the hen really does not care, it will step on your food with abandon and shit in it for good measure.
Watch out Mr. Hen! Here comes the hawk!
And the hen makes it noise desperately, and in panic, looks for safety…
For even though the hen does not care, even though all it thinks about is its stomach, the hen knows it cannot fool everyone, and even in the back of its dumb mind, knows that its fate can easily be determined by the hawk….
Suddenly something sneaks up to my legs, rubbing itself on my body softly, and purring non stop
Oh! Poor cat; but is the cat poor really? Where have you been?
It looks at me through split eyes, and I can almost see the mockery in its eyes…
Where else? It almost says, been having a good time, I’m only here because its meal time…
For the cat loves herself.
She sits by the fire all day,
Hides while mating, hates its own shit and likes cleaning itself all the time…
I love my cat, but she is selfish, loves herself and no one else.
Sometimes I wonder, when I’m away for some time then come back home,
When the cat sees me and comes charging towards me, almost knocking me down,
Is it that the cat has missed me? Or that she just wants someone to keep her warm?
Could it be its cause she had been starving, with no one around to give her meals?
Or maybe, just maybe, the cat does have feelings after all and a heart too.
The cow grazes on,
Unconcerned with the world,
Occasionally looking up when someone passes by,
Ignoring the hen that frequently comes to pick on the ticks, for the hen, with all honesty, is a small wig in the eyes of the cow.
The cow forgets that the hen is doing it a favor by removing a parasite from his body that would have sucked it dry.
But the cow is always chewing, chewing and chewing.
Fuck the world, it says, almost bitterly.
Why shouldn’t I eat? They use me; they milk me every morning and every evening, day in and day out
Food that is meant for my little one, I might as well use them, because they WILL without a doubt, use me.
And after I am no longer of use to them, after I can no longer provide milk, the will kill me.
And eat my flesh,
Use my skin for hides and bags,
Heck, they won’t even spare my hooves!!
So let me use them. Make them sweat hard while searching for food for me.
While I on the other hand will eat like there is no tomorrow.
And finally, I hear a bark…
And my dog comes running towards me, tail wagging vigorously
Oh, I know indeed that someone is coming and I pat the dog lovingly
To the dog, I am his first priority; the ONLY priority.
And he shall serve me faithfully, diligently and relentlessly,
Always informing me of intruders,
Always escorting me to the shop, to the well, damn this dog will take me to the end of the world if I want him to.
It will stop when I tell it too,
Pick ANYTHING that I instruct it to and not do anything that will annoy me.
The dog keeps me and my loved ones safe,
He does not care for the fire
It can stand for hours doing nothing as long as it is standing next to me
Oh, and did I not tell you, the dog eats only three times a day although it wouldn’t mind an occasional biscuit here and there.
It would throw itself in the waters if I did, for like Naomi, where I go, it goes.
Unlike the cat, the dog would lick me dry (no pun intended)
Unlike cat that wants u to rub it while it licks itself and purrs, the dog will lick you as a sign of gratitude, all for a small pat.
My dog does not care for my reputation, he loves me to bits.
He can read my mood.
And if it were able to write, it would have meant the words “yours faithfully” from the bottom of its heart, and it wouldn’t “just be saying”
I look at the dog and my eyes swim in tears, indeed I drop a few tears, for I know in my heart of hearts that I will never find a friend like this dog in the whole wide world, not even from my own family.
By Winnie Araka
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