A Poem

By Veli Mnisi

I can’t remember too much,
But I’ll never forget that sensation of
Burning tar road under my tiny feet,
And the controlled explosion of sun overhead,
And all those days you would dance all alone
In the middle of our shoebox living room.

I’ll never forget that you were dancing all alone
Not because you wanted to
But because he wasn’t around as much as
You or he would have liked,
He was doing the best he could.
Also because I could barely grapple
With being flung into this calm discord,
And that my cries at the death of July all those years ago were not because I was scared or confused,
But because I understood and felt I knew what was coming.

But I did stand up, eventually,
And i did dance with you.
I had fairly good coordination,
Interrupted only by concerns that the
Kitchen door was open at 7pm and
The starving darkness outside only waited to be invited in,
And that he was outside within it, doing the best he could.
Further concerns that maybe all this noise would catch the attention of all that darkness;
Others, that Barry White’s bass-baritone boomed louder than the next instalment of Brooke Logan’s
Regular muffled whisper cries and the tear-diluted mascara running down her cheeks.
I thought maybe she had something important to cry about and perhaps we ought to pay attention.
I felt I had something important to cry about, too, but I could not articulate it because I did not know how.
Also because you might take one of your shoes and
Give me something (else that was) real to cry about.

I did stand up, eventually.
But it wasn’t without kicking my tiny feet into
The sharp corners of that lonely house, and
Tables and chairs, and screaming at the blood before I even knew it was there.
It was not without running outside the second I realized that little people like me did not cease to exist at the end of the school day when you ushered me home.
It was not without realizing that the darkness grew tired of our loneliness too, and gave way to the sun.
So, I resolved to go outside and subject myself to that great ball of fire overhead,
And the flesh beneath my feet melting because all the other kids took their shoes off outside, too.
And maybe they, too, all waited to be gifted something real to cry about.

And it seemed to matter so little
When we said our goodbyes with no real prospects
Of meeting again