6 September 2019

Zimbabwe, a poem by Rethabile Masilo

—for Charity and Francis Matyaka

They occupy the street like fan club members
and chant against the paucity of grey men.
My father died in sorrow, one says, a mulatta
in the back. There’s a silent feeling
around a quiet boy, black as the mood of this day in June,
bright as what he will become.
He steals glances at me.
Their song is quiet, strong as a half-night’s wind
that whistles down hills telling its own grief.
I do not speak his tongue and secretly hope
he has been schooled enough to tell his story in words
I’d know—
what eats him.
His father was the teacher they came for at the school:
Francis, whom he watched beaten in a donga
near their home by angry masks;
sand had drunk all his life as his mother stood
with her head in her hands,
like she wanted to unscrew it
and give it back to God.


Written after reading the following 2008 story: Death toll rises in Robert Mugabe's reign of terror



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