7 July 2018

The martyr, a poem by Rethabile Masilo

Throughout winter
we looked forward to spring,
and planned how we would enjoy it
once it finally came round,
till those men slaughtered the boy,
which set us back more than a season,
at least. They took what they could
from what remained of his heart
and split—just like that—
though not before
they had lifted their leg
on the way out, and pissed
like a dog on the inner walls
of his heart, in both the atria
and the ventricles, and stopped
one eventual time at the door
to spit on his ancestral name.

—This poem is from Letter to country, Canopic Publishing, 2016

Motlatsi and mom in Qoaling in 1981

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