Upbringing

the chalk that rivers across the blackboard
last smudged my fingers
when I was 11 and crew cut

they anglicised our language for us
uniforms, leather,
uptight references to the weather
the use of local words
within an essay
banned like one bans dangerous drugs

how stupidly I obeyed it all
and stood first, acing
every exam like a long distance runner
at the end of the race my mind splintered
my roots cut, my feet
insulated from my own earth
as I was now ready, to conquer
the air conditioned world
ironing my new shirt every evening

Cross

seventeen years later, the cross
seems puzzling still, dust fills
its gaps as my eyes are pulled
to the glass paintings
who cover the outside world, like
a mother’s stories about her past

having sinned again, my hands
soiled by the murder of blindness
touch an empty bench, caressing
dead cells of a pious person
who made a donation, hoping
the cross would come alive

Gone

I watched the sugar cubes dissolve in hot water
witnessed you
reduce yourself to one adjective 

grew alongside your mistakes, raising them
as children who would forget me later 

saw you run into the sea, the beams of light
shimmering the horizon into sparkles

in old pictures the glow of your younger faces
serenely fills the room with memories now

I watched you catch the bus to the city
from where you never returned
I reduced our last moment to a lost ticket 
unknowingly

3.2.17