Slave Market, Lagos

Walk along the promenade now
stroll the sun-filled wall
where the beautiful fisherman
has leaned his bicycle against the stone.
A market on a harbour wall
not any harbour, this one. Stalls stretch
the length of your gaze
an endless array of fake designer purses
and floating scarves kiting the wind.
You’re reminded of those black boys
in Albufeira in rainbow coned hats
weighed down with trays of sunglasses
treading the sand.

The local boys are smoking ganja
on the cobbles
spin on three-wheeled bikes like conquerors
in the shadow of the steeple
the cross commanding the skyline still

and there’s Henry the Navigator on his marble throne
facing the sea
slave market at his back, just as you dreamt it
sturdy walls and ironed gates under the knuckles
of backpackers with their knotted hair
and plastic bottles of water

and here are the ghosts
whose blood runs in your veins
still circumnavigating these five hundred years

their voices loud as market traders in your ear
whilst the ocean
hooking the land like a scythe, imprisons
the old Fort in mud, its solid cannons
fodder for Instagram and Facebook
whilst the monk’s gaze looks out still
over the world of water
petrified.

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