Malaika / The Angel (Swahili / English translation)

Dad, tunaenda wapi? (where are we going?)
Dad, the car is shaking,
I’m scared, when are we going to eat?
There is a malaika, an angel
Near a gasoline container
The night breaks the light

Daddy, tafadhali (Please)
The stars have abandoned the road
She will come back I promise you
Do you hear the angel
On the back seat?
He sings and I am afraid

Daddy, msaada (help)
The angel’s eyes are a volcano of mist
They encircle my fuzzy consciousness
But the car crashed in front of the company
With sooty turrets
Gas escapes from the obtuse windows
And my father walks in front of me —
Daddy, let’s go home tonight,
I too am shivering with cold

Dad, simama (stop)
My eyes, crinkled with darkness, are tired
The water strangles my socks,
But my father throws me a screwdriver
And grabs steel nests
He stuns with his axe
The smooth skull of the demented machines
But the morning will condemn us
And the angel taps my shoulder

Papa habari gani? (Are you okay?)
We go out to the deserted parking lot
He loads up the gas cans
And throws the sheet metal and the corrugated zinc
On the back seat,
The angel cries in my hand
And we drive on without looking back
My mother’s face is left hanging
To the morning’s blood paper

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