Tiny fires that light up the sky

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Foto: Pixabay.com

Tiny fires that light up the sky 
For Lufuno Mavhungu

You leave the house reluctantly 
Outside, underneath the lick of sun 
Looking back at Ma waiting on the porch 
You steal a final glance to collect a remembrance of her 
A portrait etched into the back of your eyelids – 
This way, her image will carry you through the day.

To you, this tradition of a daily exodus to school 
Is similar to leaving the womb all over again 
But still you open the rusty gate, 
Its aged swearing a familiar song 
Bidding you farewell as you exit the yard.

Amongst the rush of other pupils, you swallow regret 
You know what is about to come, how dark autumn can get 
And you are not prepared for this, you can’t be ready for this.

Solely unsheathed from your mother’s touch 
The big world gulps you up greedily 
Renders you as another face of an endless crowd 
A mere statistic, a child no more.

Who knew of the wars you kept hidden under your skin? 
First the blackness of Africa – a historical wound 
The shadow of apartheid that follows you around – 
The very reason why, in some suburbs, 
Your name will be flushed into oblivion 
Scrubbed off before the end of the week.

Another war is being launched against your beauty 
A knife drawn deeper than your own history with skin 
This unceremonious fray you thought you couldn’t win 
But simply by breathing, in speaking out, and being 
You hold a fist up high – timeless and endless 
This is how you proclaim future hope 
The gift of reason and tolerance, unequivocally 
To all, even those still blinded by self-deceit. 

Later, when the day grows tired 
The rusty gate back home exhales differently when opened 
An unfamiliar creed without your touch 
Don’t you linger or haunt, your exit was not in vain 
Believe us 
This time, this, we won’t forget.

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  • Baie dankie vir 'n uiters sensitiewe en intuïtiewe aanvoeling van "die kind is nie dood nie" se dag van begin tot einde. Dit het my diep aangeraak.

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