My God

A POEM
By Shameelah Khan

 

There was an old man in the train
Many thought he was insane
He rhythmically paced up and down, up and down
Saying “this” and “that” and then suddenly Your name:

“My God”
“Worship Him the good Lord”

He was non-existent to the rest
But his madness spoke right into my chest
He reminded me of the tests that nature presents
In his quizzical Christian rants

“My God”
“Worship Him the good Lord”

At every stop they wished he’d get off
Sometimes his voice would get lost-
in the sounds of the surrounding people
reminding me of the smooth sea of the cape
Down my nape, the hands of my lover beside me
the train ride at the end of our date

“My God”
“Worship Him the good Lord”

It was a long day
I was a witness to the testament of youth

-that was drained from the working class faces
Traces of old men clutching their worn- out leather brief cases
The tired coloured- mother
already catching a nap before dinner
the “Old Timer” hidden behind the Daily Sun newspaper
The Dreamers- the Teenagers,
trying not to fall in love because their life was too hard.
He’s never been to university
and she considers her feet -stuck in the mud-
Life is hard- but,

“My God”
“Worship Him the good Lord”

To keep Sane,
We all tried hopelessly to acknowledge the songs of rain-
gently caressing the train track ahead
Unsure if the wailing-baby across from me has been fed
The other side of gentrified Cape Town- the land that remains dead
I closed my eyes and felt the warmth breath of love beside me.
For a moment more as we approached the city of cobblestone roads and fresh coffee all day long-
Cape Town was compressed into a Third-class coach,
and the delusional man,
held in his hands,
a broken bible,

“My God”
“Worship Him the good Lord”

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