Excuses

A Poem

By Tanatsei Gambura

In his defence,
I always said my father was not
A product of himself,
That his ways were creations
Of his father and his father’s
Mistress who I call my grandmother.
Even they are difficult to blame;
Some truths are violent.

Gogo died when I was nine,
when she was just a woman with
seven children who she watched run
away from her home,
when she was just a woman who rolled
folktales from her tongue like a cinema house,
Just a woman who injected herself with
a drug to control the sweet
sugar of her spirit.
She was only trying to keep
Herself alive, but how could
I have known?

My father is haunted by his father,
Theorises about his death. It is no wonder.
Who could have taught my father manhood?
Who could have taught him softness that
doesn’t make you shake at night,
Who could have taught him
How not to make the mistakes
He now vomits into another woman’s toilet bowl,
Head in somersault,
Knuckles gripping the wet seat.

Will I find peace?
Can I teach my sons how to breathe?