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.