10 October 2018

Family reunion, a poem by Rethabile Masilo

In the afternoon I gather fruit that drops
from our tree; the peach I pick for dad
breaks in my hand and bleeds over my fingers
because it’s ripe and sallow, like bushman skin
under the sun of Taung. I pluck one for mum
from a low-hanging branch, and put it
in a different basket, for it’s still firm.
I’ll put it in a bowl on the kitchen table
and watch as it ripens. Siblings fall
from other trees that a breeze stirs:
this weekend we’re having a reunion.
Cousins too, their apricots and prunes
and marete-a-makula touch and kiss
as I carry the heavy baskets to the house,
after which I proceed to shave and shower,
put on a clean shirt. There are friends
already in the house, from Ha-Tšiu outside
town, and from as far as Bloemfontein.
I knot my tie, fix my hair with a ’fro comb
dad never let us use. The mirror smiles.
I rub my eyes, dad is staring back at me.

Mum & Dad
Poem from 'Letter to country'
Canopic Publishing, 2016

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