6 November 2018

Choosing, a poem by Rethabile Masilo

The kingdom is packed, and there is no more
room for doubt. And so you go, you pick
yourself up like a hoe and walk the few blocks
to the booth to try and look after your crops;
and come out. When you do, after the holy duty
has been done, you sit outside a bit with the smile
of a high moon curving up your face, a feeling
you will keep in one of the pockets of your depth
where the mind designs the future of children,
one that none can know, like a lucky penny
they will one day find as they turn old clothes
inside out to see if they're worth keeping,
whether they need to be washed, ironed
and starched, or thrown onto the big heap
of history with the rest. You are giddy, warm
inside, during this midst of the harshest winter
of time. Nothing will move you from that season
you are holding, for it is your summer of 69.
You have carried your child, clinging to you,
with long strides, to the nearest clinic, the way
you will bear today’s deed for the rest of time.
A ballot means so much more than a bullet.
Your thoughts take the saying from the mind,
and you are so happy for having thought of it
that you repeat it to yourself and to the winds:
a ballot means so much more than a bullet.

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