3 October 2019

The folding, a poem by Rethabile Masilo

—for Tyehimba Jess

Beside a ditch they swirl in timeless strength—
a healer, a griot, a wealth of rained-out souls;
a goat, and wax that runs down a taper
like hæmoglobin from a hole in the leg.
Ruddy with ochre they are creation
plunge-dipped in multitudes of blood,
aligned like fœtuses, sent across the ocean.

Today their plough-shares harrow fields
of papyrus browsers, anointing a revolution
that began years ago: a child dead on 5th avenue,
a gun put next to the body—who'd kill a child?
Where did the lights unexpectedly go? This voice
is a litany. For a million hundred years we have
sung, along banks of the rivers of boulevards.

Detroit, 1967

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