Four poems by Nica Cornell

Thirst

I lived in a land of drought
stark, harsh

do not smuggle your stepmother’s shampoo
her hair is lush with water
and your father’s love
her skin – never scrubbed
she grows roses
pretty, greedy and foreign

you are small, untidy, tough
a boer
you belong to broken lands like this one.

 

National University Shutdown, South Africa, October 2015

My lover
there was a day like yours once –
the first of a year, with gin and dry lemon, on a green garden patio, when I still ate potatoes
how hungry I was
to live/love/learn
I didn’t know, then –

Blue dye on voluptuous knees.
A grandmother looks away while a grandson is thrown.
Shopping for nappies for children chased from their homes (and cigarettes for their mothers).
Thank-full when the priests came – surely they will not hate us now?
Tearing blackface posters down, trying to breathe through my breasts.
My voice crawling down my throat to hide in my gut.
Vomiting wheels – my body a small child begging, “Please don’t make me.”
“I’m sorry Granny. I can’t defend your faith here. They will lynch me.”

 

Sea Shells

I gather seashells like men
make a pretty necklace out of them

mussels
cavalier, cutting, chaotic

I gather seashells with men
wear colour when I write

whelks
timid, taut, territorial

I gather seashells as men
seek souls

perlemoen
gleaming, guileless. Godly.

 

Characters in a Psychologist’s Waiting Room

  1. the Girl with eyes wider than her thighs
  2. the Boy who keeps his face covered in the hallways – always
  3. the Woman who sleeps beneath the purple blanket she brings in her bag
  4. there are no men.
Tagged with: ,
Posted in Poetry
THE ALAN PATON WILL TRUST


Botsotso is pleased to announce that it is now hosting administration of this trust.


The function of the trust is to negotiate terms of Permission and Rights under which Alan Paton’s work may be published, translated and/or used in any other manner, such as adaptation.


The literary managers are Warren Jeremy Rourke and Kharys Ateh Laue who are contactable at botsotso@artslink.co.za


All Permissions and Rights accrue directly to the Trust.


For further information please check under the menu item.