25 March 2020

Threnody for Sharpeville, a poem by Rethabile Masilo

My mother told me that white people are us,
that they left Africa, came back, before hurling herself
at the sky like she was going to catch it,
touch the soles of God, grab a dead leg
and bring it back down here, the opposite 
of where a hungry hawk takes its prey.
She said salmon know when their predator
is around, because they smell themselves
on its breath and desist from fighting
the rapids, where a current moves
with rough speed, in their quest to multiply.
Like a swooping hawk she leapt up,
and if the world could turn upside down
a while, her fingers would touch something,
someone's son, daughter, a mother,
or a father, even as idle faces of men
glow against a backdrop of mourning.

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