Thee Art of Waiting

A POEM

By Sanelisiwe Yekani

Fix yourself

Fix your hair. Check the time.

Check if your wallet is still in your purse. Don’t look around too much, keep your head rather still and fixed.

Cross your legs, the right one first. Swap over, allow this to continue.

Fold your arms. Return to neutral;

Don’t cry.

Why are you crying?

Whistle, hum a tune

You dared to wait

You might as well master thee art of waiting.

Don’t mind the dead leaves filling up around you

You remember there was a willow tree here once

Be sure to wear colours that blend in with the background,

Can’t be seen too often, waiting

The neighbours will have your name for dinner.

Check your make-up, clear your throat

So many things you want to say

Ensure that it was here that you were to wait

Have with you some whiskey

Some hard whiskey

To warm up your chest when your heart begins to freeze

Over.

Quick! Check your pulse

Might have forgotten to breathe there

Light up a cigarette.

Watch the colour of thee air around you change

Reset to a different neutral.

Ask all who pass by here to leave the gate slightly open

Ask them not to block the pathway

You’re waiting for something.

Just you and your thoughts now

And the dead leaves filling up around you

Nowhere to run, stuck in the mud now

Wonder if what you’re waiting for didn’t die. Out there; somewhere

In thee arms of a closer paradise.

Don’t break

Why are you breaking?

Pull yourself together

Maggots are waiting to divide pieces of you among them

Stay put.

Breathe; remain with yourself.

You dared to wait

You might as well master thee art of waiting.

Steady fixing, clearing, re-setting;

Trying to return

Steady breaking.

Steady.

Trying to gather yourself.

Look at you mastering a brutal trade; waiting.

Disappearing under all those dead leaves

You remember

There was a willow tree here once.

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