I sat next to an old lady in St. John’s today. Dead leaves fluttered between us.
Like you, she’s a fan of khaki and corduroy; both worn in the form of a knee length
skirt, exposing her rich ankles as they rejoice wildly in the brisk November wind.
I only had seven minutes of my lunch hour left. She looked like she had all day.
We got to talking. “What’s your favourite thing about earth?” she asked.
I wanted to say you.
I wanted to tell her about the strength that brews
underneath the shrinkage of your nappy hair. How the kink in your roots
is the key to your magic. How I remember you taking shelter under Sekuru’s
golf umbrella – shielding your rich melanin from Chinhoyi’s boastful sun.
How even in the shadows, you glisten. Resembling the midnight sky but louder.
Yes, your tongue may be as sharp as sin. Who could blame you
after that unfortunate incident with the ZANU-PF faction which synched
the sweet of your taste buds. And in spite of the bitter and sour left behind
I wanted to tell her about your hands. The ones that raised two boys, four girls.
The ones that pounded sadza. Put togetherness on the table night after night.
The ones that grew rows and streams of shallots. Sugarcane. Even repi.
The hands that laid Sekuru to rest after fifty-nine years of unblissful marriage.
I wanted to tell her but how could I? I only had five minutes left. You
are a lifetime.