14 May 2020

My heart is empty now, a poem by Rethabile Masilo

Please just let me turn down this volume in my head,
so I can sit back, place my hands behind my head
like a hammock around an ailing body—
though where I shall go from here I don't know.
Where does one go when the heart is empty, even
as a mind reels from the persistence of love?
A dove crosses the city and arcs into the distance.
A plane carrying halves of people coasts overhead. Soon
they will join the other, when they reach their destination,
the way my brother and I tore bills of money in half,
and kept one piece each, on the last day before school,
and scotched them during the holidays when we united,
changed by distance and boarding school. We grew
into men apart, and then became children again, till
it was time to part again. O yes, my heart is empty now.
As the road stretches neither way from this crossroad,
I shut my eyes, and from the screens behind their eyelids,
watch you, determined one morning, grab your bag
and walk out, down the path past the football field,
the heights of Qoaling behind you, and disappear
like a dark hawk beyond chimneys in the distance.

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