At the dawn of the second millennium
since the passing
of a traveler named the Christ,
the Sahara edged southward.
Hot glacier of sand,
hungry predator of history.
And with it, generations of knowledge
passed through destiny’s portal
buried under oceans of sand.
Koumbi Saleh was its name
though we called it Ghana, all.
Ashore the Wagadu River
lay an ancient capital
where brother bathed in lakelands
now baked a powder grey.
Within this land called Ghana
cities lay in polished stone.
Once pearls for Arab poachers,
now crumbled to ruination.
A land unknown to rainfall
was once awash in greenery
now unimaginable under parched rock.
City dwellers turned to village scavengers
farmers scattered with the burning winds
villagers, starving, nomadic, savage
become refugees and slid rearward in history’s
harsh record. Social scientists tout the
damned, dirty savage heathens as examples
of Africa’s dearth of culture.
And so they remain, awaiting discovery
by twentieth-century television.
Renamed, untamed, seeking history’s acclaim,
alas, death is not news
in the desert.