The Train From Abijan to Bouake

by Leslie Dianne

As the train travels north
from Abijan to Bouake
the shadows of the trees make
dancing partners
whose arms I cannot reach
out in the fields a woman
performs alone
with perfectly tied straw brooms
balanced on her head

She sways towards the stopped train
to sell her goods
to travelers looking
for a gift to bring home
the women choose fast
swish the straw in the air and
nod at the golden tones

The men reach out and
take their time,
then pick the finest one,
place their money in the basket
full of lovely things
that the seller offers to the world

The men return to their seats
satisfied and broom happy
they have sent their sister friend home
with money for milk and diapers
rice and coffee
and they figure out how to explain
to their wives the tenth broom
they have bought this month

Because they don’ t dare tell about the
long swan neck
strong dark arms
the hypnotic swaying walk that
makes them want to
get off the train
dance with a stranger forever
and forget about going home.


Leslie Dianne is a poet, novelist, screenwriter, playwright and performer whose work has been acclaimed internationally in places such as the Harrogate Fringe Festival in Great Britain, The International Arts Festival in Tuscany, Italy and at La Mama, ETC in New York City. Her stage plays have been produced in NYC at The American Theater of Actors, The Raw Space, The Puerto Rican Traveling Theater, and The Lamb’s Theater. Her poems have appeared or currently appear in Vita Brevis, Soft Cartel, Esthetic Apostle, PopShot, Ink and Voices, and S/tick and are forthcoming in The Magnolia Review and Night Picnic Press.

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