Endowed in perpetuity by the Glenna Luschei Fund for Excellence

Tree Baby

Tree Baby

By Flavia Kabuye

You're my tree baby

At the World War II memorial in DC
You stood in the cool watershed
You could not read the beautiful writings on the wall
Nor see the graphic pictures
You did not feel the sudden rush of emotion
When the story unfolded
But your tenacity reminded me
of the  landslides of Bududa

You pamper my feet like a mother 

You carried my feet in Adekwokok for the first time
None of us could speak the language of the land
We taught each other the language of patience
The bus galloped for several hours
But you could not see the road side sellers
Though you felt the warmth
from the tropical climatic zones
The trees seemed to run with us

You announce my presence everywhere I go
You once embarrassed me in Dar
The rough haired cobbler
Almost reduced you to pieces
While I sipped on lemonade
He scrubbed and hang you out to dry
Polished your leather torso till it shone
And fixed the golden buckles on your wooden body.
You stroked the contours of my feet like a soulful song
Balanced them on two scales
And my body felt like feathers

You announce my presence everywhere I go
Is that why they call you mukalabanda–
the noise you make reminds them of ghosts?


Flavia Kabuye

Flavia Kabuye is a graduate of Makerere University, Kampala (BA Hons., MA) and a social scientist working in HIV research for the last seven years, with a passion for creative writing. She is a member of the Uganda Association of Women Writers (FEMRITE) and was the third winner of the 2011 BN Poetry Award for the poem "Beads of Hope," which was also published in A Thousand Voices Rising. Her short story "Each Cloth I Sew" was published in Never Too Late, a teen's anthology. She is a mother, a self-styled marketer, and jeweler who is currently pursuing a Msc in gerontology.

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