Photo credit: Osajus via Flickr

 

In a Bali hotel room
I shed electricity
some quirk of the medication
tends and stokes
kindles against me

The tongue also is a fire
through the year’s slow teeth
all the days of my life
speak against me
See fire eat fire
see it set the whole course
of a life on fire
and itself set on fire by hell

I’ll say Walungu, Okapi,
Le Grand Bouelvard
trace the old neighbourhood
reach for the women on street corners
selling ground nuts
slip the high grasses
bright hare in the brush smoke

On the bathroom’s cool floor
I reach a dear friend:
“I’m dreaming of rivers,” I say
“and the high whistle of blue quails.”

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I keep seeing my mother
she is younger now
her body snagged on my brother’s
He is only four years old
and racked with fever
She is begging the memory
of her own mother

How do fires die?
We reach the end and
cry out for the beginning

 

 

About the Writer:

Sarah Lubala is a Congolese-born South African writer. She has been shortlisted for the Gerald Kraak Award and The Brittle Paper Poetry Award. Her work has been published in Brittle Paper, The Missing Slate, Apogee Journal, Prufrock, as well as The Gerald Kraak Anthology As You Like It, Botsoso’s 2018 Poetry from Public and Private Places and the African Collective’s Best New African Poets 2018 Anthology.