Two Poems by Mphae Charmaine Mashifane

No, I am not Looking for my Father

I cringe as I ride my way into
the belly of a city that swallowed my father
The knots in my abdomen grow tight
as I feel the shadow of a tower rest on my shoulder
No, I’m not looking for my father
but I hope to see him

People chatter, taxis hoot
I bet you my father must’ve
not heard himself think
of coming home

Street lamps, traffic lights
I bet you my father must’ve
lost his sight and his
way home

I’ve been trying to pick up a language
It feels like lapping water with my tongue
I bet you my father must’ve
forgot his own name and never heard us call out

No, I am not looking for my father
but I hope to see him

They Forgot you but Speak of you

Some speak of your concrete streets
The buildings that stand tall on your back
They forget your mountains kiss the clouds every morning

Some speak of your concrete streets
The bridges that never dare to touch your rivers
They forget your rivers fill their guts

Some speak of your concrete streets
The gold they dug out of your belly with their bare hands
They forget your soil’s fertility

Some speak of your concrete streets
The lights bright enough to call night day
They forget stars breathe light to your skies too

Forgetting the land before the name
The land before the rain of feet

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