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Home » Poetry » Issue 2 » Detected Accents

Detected Accents

I’m possessed by the till
Processing person
After person
Next in line!
My simple, but
Productive refrain.

Once, I was a teacher
Carving English words for
The tongues of bemused
Often confused
But unfazed
Ndaus of Rusitu Valley.

Now, here, countries away,
I have glued my soul
To the quivering spirit
Of the checkout till:

Two grinning customers
per minute

As I blow off questions like dust,
Yet smiling like I’m employee of the month:

Where’re you from?
You’re from Nigeria, aren’t you?
Do I detect an accent?
You’ve a beautiful voice!

At five o’clock,
I punch out,
With a flash of Gerber cans
Added to the giggles
Of my new-born son,
Propelling me
To my apartment.

Five more days
And I will start answering
Those Zimbabwe calls.