Peace Corps Teacher, Ikare, Nigeria, 1964-67 (2 of 2) - Ron Singer

(part three of four poems entitled 'Colleagues')
Amos was shepherd to gleeful sheep.

Professeur jusqu’au bout des ongles, *
he’d supervise the boys as they reaped

the aki apples from the jumble 
of trees in our shared, sand-covered yard.
“O ti lo wa ju (why be humble?),”

he’d say to me, “you have gone far,”
praising my infantile Yoruba.
J.B. was also my translator.

At a slanging match, a big hub-bub
in a dirt yard, one witticism
made the crowd roar. Translated, the nub

of it was, “A vagina famine
has befallen your remote bush town.
Carts carry the penises, swollen,
of your entire member population.”

* a teacher to the ends of his fingernails.