Looking for God

A Poem

By Tanatsei Gambura

I remember the Sunday church became
A strange, lukewarm trickle of water
Down my spine, anxiety fermenting
like week-old beans in my stomach,
Blood spilling out of my mouth –
I remember what I was wearing,
My best blue button-up shirt, blue jeans,
Hair cropped short below my chin.

How the hell did I manage to sing
Those upbeat pop songs, memorise new
Lyrics of praise in a hall I had never stepped
In before, knowing that mama was at home
Without her children or the man she had
Brought them up with,
Knowing that she was reeling,
Soaking her fresh wounds in salt water,
Soaking blood into her sheets.
All for the man she loved.
How did I manage to ignore the memory of
The happenings of that morning whilst
I was in the new woman’s place of worship,
As if in a trance, holding my breathe,
Stuffing my uneasy heart beats into my pocket.
Now that I think of it, mama’s royal
Blue costume and bold make-up were
Difficult to forget.

A holy book taught me to
Fight the scream that was boiling behind
My teeth when I saw mama’s husband bring
An electric cable to her body,
All in the name of praying and goodness
And righteousness and love.
What? Holy?
I remember that Sunday well, and
I remember how quickly God’s face
changed before my young eyes
so vividly.

Caution me when I laugh too
Hard at my own tragedies.
Sometimes I’ll be falling
apart or looking
for God.