Sunday morning radio

A Poem

By Sithembiso Mdlalose

It took me forever to write these words

I’m still writing these words

This poem is unfinished

And I don’t know if it ever will

 

Like how my adolescent black body longed

For his presence

Running barefooted

With an unfinished sketch of him in my mind

Nothing seemed permanent

 

F…

F…

Fa…

Father!

 

My father

The man whose blood runs through my veins

And whose image I find hard to trace

Nothing seems permanent  

 

So I gave everyone around me a taste of my blues,

But mostly keeping to myself

Making homes out of idle words

Building shelters out of empty promises

Running barefooted

inside the house I built

 

My speech is an unfinished sketch of him

I ran,

stuttering wildly trying to finish it

But I kept on stammering

F…

F…

Fa…

Father!

Nothing seemed complete

Until I bumped into her

 

Her

My Mother

 

Her rebukes

Her beatings

Her angry look

Her no’s

and her yes’s

Her cooking

And her prayers

In them, I found a home

But,

nothing seems permanent  

 

Hymn hymn hymn hymn

Hymn hymn…

 

Sunday morning hymning  to Ezra Ngcukana ’s standard jazz piece on the radio

 

Hymn hymn hymn hymn

Hymn hymn…

 

I swear to God I could hear God speak through her hymning  

 

“Here are your shoes

This is the imagine

It is complete”

 

“This is home”.