Wednesday, 13 October 2021

One Poem by Temani Nkalolang

 



The susurration of pain

 

Inherited pain that breathes through the pores

of your skin has taught your fingers to carve

your identity on a bleeding wound;

 

Everyday you wake the sun from his slumber,

carry him on your shoulders and watch as they

sing his praises, only the chirping birds that mate

shamelessly in the open sky see your hunched back...

isn't it their dripping sperm you dress your wound with?

 

You put the sun to sleep, but when sleep  whispers sweet

nothings into your ears, your fingers again skillfully carve out

the scab to bleed  your wound lest you fall  into temptation.

 

Your children should never inherit this pain, so, when lovers kiss

under the moonlit sky your thoughts trudge the desert night

of your mind, feed coals to your hands to put tomorrow's food on

the table -

 

In the heart of your mind  the mutating wound of your identity sits

supreme on the decision- making throne, making fire with your dreams

for firewood, heaping ashes of responsibilities on your choices.

To light the dreams of your kids from ashes, you hang your

 testosterone with the stars for your kids to wish upon while

 you pick resilience with your mouth from the wind, still unripe.

 

When you carry the sun like a boulder on your shoulders again,

his weight squeezes the sweet by - product of your pain, ripens

your resilience; you smile, bright as the sun, sing praises to the

sun with them for you have made their happiness your happiness.

 

Now your son will never inherit pain;

from your scar, he will paint a mural of his identity.

Your daughter will not drink pain to numb her identity;

from your scar, she will write the future of history.

 

This poem was inspired by Lewis Nkosi's novel, Mating Birds.




Temani Nkalolang is a Motswana writer who resides in Palapye, Central District, Botswana. She is fluid in both poetry, short stories and children's literature. Her works have been published in Writers Space Africa online literary magazine and Poetry Tuesday.

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