Friday, May 19, 2017

Using the letter P too many times

This is your country
she said to me, before the map was clear

paves with poppies
because poppies are red, like blood, no

these are your people
confusing their letters

there are too many peas in the pod
but not enough to make dinner for the mother with three starving children

you use the word slanting too many times
but the ground under you doesn't slant, it shakes

there is a difference in the two verbs
she insists with a sense of wonder, as if one can predict the ends of earth

this is your bird,
it pointed its beak towards me, not a peacock but a phoenix

to rise from the fire you built with your bare hands
who told you phoenixes where mythological?

the proteas burn and they are as real as the back of your hand
touch it, I will never lie

this is your country,
where the letter P is used so many times
the softer it is on people's palettes makes it melt like ice-cream
to erase the taste of thistle on their tongues.

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