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2 poems by Lindiwe Mpofu

Zimbabwean gestation
another day, another spell
of gut churning nausea
morning sickness
from the growing foetus of loneliness
and the longing to return
to the soil that formed me,
the ground where my umbilical cord is buried

homesick but home is sick

they say her lungs are crashing from suffocation
her heart failing from repression
yet her pulse is a flame
from her swelling belly
as a growing foetus of hope kicks up

a resurrection of buried dreams


Knowing me

You tell them you know me
You’ve known me for years
You say I’m polite, articulate and funny
Not like the others

What if you knew
That my politeness is carefully curated
In an effort not to offend you with my blackness
That I walk on eggshells to skilfully avoid
Stepping on your porcelain toes

What if you knew
That I’ve had to become fluent in your language
In an effort to prove my intellect
That I’ve buried my tongue in order to master yours,
to become palatable to your taste medium-
rare brown on the outside but not all the way there

What if you knew
That my humour is the crutch that keeps me from falling
Each time you repeat that one Leon Schuster joke
You know, the one about Zulus

I wish you knew me
Then again I’m afraid of what it means
To be known by you
So I tell them I know you
I’ve known your family for years,
I say they’re kind, loud and progressive-
Not like the others
But that’s a story for another day