m(other) a letter to my adopted daughter

by Hanta Henning

my child
there are two mothers
in your heart
and in your head
the one who bore you
and me
who raises you in her stead

when you came
there was no map
of the road ahead
instead i stumbled blindly
towards where i thought
it led

within you
was not the glistening beacon
i came to long for
to expect
but a darkened maze
i never could predict
in your small vessel
the mesh of pain
singing thinly
opaque light
obscuring
what was
and what was
yet to be

you never grew
within me

your branches spread
away and out
from darkened soil
diseased
a veil of thin mist
always obscuring
my way amidst the thickets
of your trees

did i fail you?
did i falter
when i took you
away
from one who
could not
would not
be your mother?
were they flawed
my misbegotten choices –
did it turn me martyr
make you other?

i have no answers now.

the path remains uncharted.

i try to feel my way
in this blind forest
find my footing
along your bluff

we circumnavigate
each other
but it might never
be enough
for full details.

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Posted in Poetry
Myesha Jenkins – Tribute

Botsotso would like to pay homage to Myesha Jenkins, the poet and promoter of poetry who died on Saturday, 05 September 2020. Myesha was a founder member of Feelah Sistah, the all-woman poetry group that in its time made such an impact. Thereafter, she was indefatigable in organising and strengthening poetry platforms on radio and for live performance/readings. Myesha’s work was included in two Botsotso productions – the anthology Isis X and the recording Roots and Branches. Her spirit as a politically conscious, jazz-loving artist lives on and is well expressed in her seminal poem Autobiography which was included in both these projects.

Click here to read Autobiography, a poem by Myesha Jenkins.

A Call for Submissions: Johannesburg in Poetry