This is how I come to the trees
To the shrub and the hartebeest
Hair knotted
No wine or cigar for Baron Cimetière
No copper or cloth for Oya
Not one rock to lay on a tombstone
Today the trees are stones
They’ve nothing to say to me
No head or tailwind
Still I can hear you here
Where you gave yourself to everything
Drunk with air and sun trapped
In that cackle you called laughter
I come here to see you now
Let the rest keep their white flowers
The lilies and gladioli and dirt
Their graveyard
I come here in the hot light
In the cool dark
Out out in the open
Where you told a poor boy
You loved him
How you loved the trees
Even though there were none here then
I knew then Grace that I finally was safe
Held between where the shepherd tree roots
And this
That now passes for sky
Without you

Pre-Order an/other pastoral: No Bindings

From an/other pastoral by Tjawangwa Dema, published by No Bindings Press. Copyright © 2022 by Tjawangwa Dema.