Through Vangi-tinted glasses

Perspectives from an African

socks January 31, 2016

Also from the December poetry challenge:

Socks

 

I don’t remember when I learned

the language of brown breasts

perhaps it was from peeling potatoes

at my uncle’s wedding

 

I was nine

entering a secret society

listening to Ma’Xipu whisper

that Nolwazi’s father had found a new family

in Rustenburg, while working in the mines

 

when Mam’September came back

from stirring the samp

they changed the subject

to Mam’Liwana, whose husband had died two weeks ago

apparently he had been ill for quite some time

before he came home.

she was sick too, they said

 

Nowelile, named the village drunk

was my favourite

she had twelve children with different fathers

she spoke to everyone, never behind their backs

seemed too busy to care

of the holes in other women’s socks

she washed dishes to feed her children

asked only for the additional drink

 

Nowelile was scorned by the women

who appeared to me, a barren of mules

respectable

deeply devoted to men who considered them

interchangeable

 

she was always the kind of brown breasts

I wanted to grow into

a life too full for dutiful waiting

 

when I was twenty eight, two weeks before my twenty nineth

I learned she had followed the river

 

her clothes, and socks,

were found on the bank

 

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