There are those times when
my son and I stand by the window
and look outside, brief moments
when we look out the window
and we are silent. Moments
when neither of us speak, when
we are not working or playing
or watching TV or arguing, moments
when we do not use words,
but just stand in that dumbed silence
seeing the colours of blue, dull
brown, yellow, glossy black, the jumping
around on the lawn, the sudden wingspread
and flight up into the sky with ease
that we can never reach. We watch all
this, saying nothing. We stand
next to each other in the room
looking out the window
in silence, watching birds.
Hot day, growing hotter.
Poetry won’t come.
War is coming in the Middle East,
and you in blue skirt
and bare feet
bringing me water. Sweat
on your dark eyelids,
glistening in the solid heat.
Trends will come and go,
but the washing never ends.
BY PORTIA MABASO
You take a bowl of warm water, add a spoonful of sea salt,
dip cotton into the bowl and apply the contents to the wound.
The result is piercing pain and grandmother swears that’s the sign of the medicine working.
Basically, hurt the place that hurts; help the pain run its course for healing to come.
Name these things.
Uncle Joe touched me without consent.
Yes, it’s a blue eye, my boyfriend hit me
And no, I will not put make up on it.
All feeling stays for as long as it must.
This is the same for bad feelings as much as the good ones.
When you are done salting your wound (which is the same as flavoring it), sterilize your room, open the windows, rollup the curtains and let the breeze soothe the wound.
This she says because wounds hidden in bandages rot and take long to heal so free it from all coverings.
This morning I had coals for breakfast and they tasted like dead trees protesting in flames the axe that chopped them, the hand that kindled them and the match that set them ablaze.
In place of full and satisfied, I had sparks dancing in my stomach.
When fire meets fire, and you are the subject in between, pray that you are precious enough to be refined and not burnt alive.
I write with breath in my lungs, the remedy must be working.
You text me from
the foothills of the Himalayas
full of litter,
Sometimes I still
feel the sweep of this
beacon. Not you, as much
as the love; not the cowrie
as much as the sea.
Your quietness turned
Things we keep
Walking in the dark,
between other people’s
houses once I heard
a puppy beaten softly,
to death. Its squeals
across the floor,
still count them.
The garden boy
has a beautiful floral garden
in his house, he spends at least two hours
on it before the sunrise
and after the sunset to cultivate
the soil and irrigate his plants and so forth
During the day he ambles around the
garden admiring his blossoms, pulling out
weeds and spraying insects away.
His old friends call him “the garden boy”.
Yesterday we went to visit
my grandmother’s grave. I for the first time
saw her name on the tombstone:
Mapalesa Rose Yatlholeho
and it all came together
We did not have enough space
for Christmas trees in our home
The only empty spaces that we had
were our moaning stomachs, and brains
starving for knowledge.
We were nothing else but young faces
wearing dusty veils made of thousand smiles