20 November 2019

For Sylvia, a poem by Rethabile Masilo

He wrote poems to the shadow of his mistress,
trapped in her flesh, and with his hand wrote
even as she was herself burning in a petri dish,
wrote words slurred to him by her scent, the ether
Lazarus emitted in a hospital, and because, young
and vulnerable, she was no longer able to cope,
she stuck her head in a bell jar and lit the fuse.
No one can have understood the shards of her.
I once rode her a while, her wind, let it lift my kite
on a voyage with the back of my hospital gown
open as wings, I would grow where she dropped me.
For a  time will come when we shall stop shutting
her words out, shutting her book, shutting our own
selves from the threat of what she saw in us.

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