Prophets on the Nairobi Expressway

by Rafiq Kathwari

“Please take the next flight to Nairobi,”
my niece said, her voice cracking over

WhatsApp. “Mom is in ICU. Lemme know
what time your flight lands. I’ll send the car.”

Early February morning on the Upper West Side,
I wore a parka, pashmina scarf, cap, gloves, rode

the A-Train to JFK, boarded Kenya Airways,
and 12 hours later

even before we landed at NBO, I peeled off my
layers anticipating equatorial warmth, the sun

at its peak, mid-afternoon. I waved at a tall, lean
man holding up RAFIKI scrawled on cardboard.

“Welcome,” he said.
“What’s your name?” I asked.

“Moses,” he said as we flew on the Expressway,
built by the Chinese.

“Oh,” I said. “My middle name is Mohammed.
Let’s look for Jesus and resurrect my sister.”