10 June 2020

Deadweight, a poem by Rethabile Masilo

This park where I am lying now with my eyes sealed
is quiet. I feel close to the roots of its plant life so much that
I sometimes hear them speaking, their low murmurs
like the sound of whales talking; I have their hairs
on the skin of my belly; the weight of the world is upon me.
Perhaps it is because I miss my children, whom life took
from me, because here I am alone, and it is quiet
except for the incessant chirping of birds through the day,
the loud flutter of their life, the distant sound of humans in
the daytime, roots breathing as they search the loam of the world
with their fingers. I think I have been here I don’t know
how long—time slows after a while; the strokes of the general clock
are slow enough for one to largely hear each second screech
across a blackboard of bareness, as time continues to put on
the brakes to a calamitous life. Sometimes I strain to see
what it is they write, but everything is black. My mind is blank
like their chalk is black. Yet I know a truth, now, why God
is hurt. I think it is interesting that I’ve reached a level of peace
that requires no food or other form of solid sustenance. It is
the water of love I miss most, laughter, which is the one thing
I know every person will be deprived of in their hereafter.

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