Paradox to a Child

Poetry | By Batsirai Chigama, Poet | 31 October 2014

There is something about
Harare in spring that reminds me
Of my mother
Harare in spring is...Bellisma
She is fresh and regal
The smile of her Jacaranda bloom
Flirts with hope and new beginnings   
Carrying the scent of promise
She tells yesterday’s barrenness
To take flight
At quarter past October
She wears the scarlet lipstick of flamboyance
Bold, daring
Enticing to the sojourners,
She wraps them in her charm
sends them home enthralled
Yet to me her resident
She shuts her door right in my face
Telling me not to get too used
to her beautiful ways
For soon like the purple bloom,
her smile will fall
Withered, sometimes downtrodden
I know a truth the sojourner doesn’t
Inside her Harare is wounded
She internally bleeds sewer
Down the throats of her children
Their faces wear a permanent frown
That cannot be undone.

For too long ma,
You’ve worn a culture up your sleeve
In the torn thread-bare like seams
Hesitant thoughts and words
Words that never learn to crawl
Let alone take flight from your tongue
Beneath endless chores
You are buried
Only a chore-mover can dig you out
of a debris that strongly smells of pain
There in the depth of it, your beauty too
Fell and downtrodden has withered into
One big grin longing to curve into a smile

There are stories your pillows would tell
If they could
They would tell
How many buckets of tears
Have drowned them
How many buckets of tears have drowned you

The ceiling and walls quietly have grown ears
Tired of the insults hurled at you
In the middle of the night
Doors banging
His car start in the middle of the night
They can’t hold from us, your muffled cries
A deep sadness descends upon your shoulder
Clings to your lonely silence
Like the choking smell of burnt popcorn.
Desperation crouches under your tongue
Seeking to be spit like morning sickness
It cannot be told, we feel it, we see it
For you recoil into self
Widening the distance between us
Yet we know you endure all this
For us, Mimi and I

Mimi asked me the other day
“Do you think dad would still love her
If we had not been born?”
I had wondered the same too
Would it make a difference
Because if it does
We would simply crawl back in your womb
Just to put that infectious smile on your face

If only you could
In this instance
Walk through that door
he knows to use so much
And never look back
You would know
We would still
Tug at the hem of your heart
Just to see that beautiful smile
We miss so much and
Like the Jacaranda bloom
We would hold you in our minds
A seasonal freshness
That permanently lingers
Like your love
If only you could
In this instance
Walk through that door
he knows to use so much
And never look back