26 February 2018

Everyone dies, a poem by Rethabile Masilo

We climb a path to where the spirits of love
live, spirits of life and of fire; we feel them hear
our approach; in an imaginary house nearby
a presence ducks behind a curtain, dark-faced,
as if this place weren’t the only hope for miles
with a fierce scent of musk the body makes
during foreplay, and throughout the act of smell,
and the time afterward when lovers lie side by side
and find each other with the wet, pink muscles
of flesh in their mouths, doing it with no script
before the cigarettes even, through the short time
it takes to love each other and through fire,
throughout the years when men who survive
death on the battlefield put their lives on fingers
of women / The house’s walls flourish with light
at our approach. A bird takes a bath in a gutter
beneath the awning. At a signal from the sky
flowers stand straight, raise their heads, unfold
their arms. It has been a long wait for this season;
the cottage smiles, lets us in: the only people
in the world, since everyone dies whenever
we do this, and that’s how it is. We start to remove
each other’s clothes button by button until
we stand at the centre of the room, neonates
and completely naked to the idea of what is
to come till, at last, it is our own moment to.

—from a manuscript called Mbera

At the Chat Noir café in Paris

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