11

Poem by Sisanda Kubeka 

Sisanda’s work focuses on making visible the lived experiences of Black queer people and women, and the ways in which art can communicate the nuances of community.

Joy is the melon flavoured lollipop
my best friend and I share
while we wait for PE to end.
She doesn’t know it,
but I love her,
the way I am certain best friends
should love each other.
Like siblings
who sleep in separate homes,
eat in separate kitchens
and go to school in separate cars,
but are inexplicably tied to one another.
Our small bodies hover above ground,
enveloped in each other’s warmth.
We are tightly sealed jars of giggles
and inside jokes that are not at all funny,
but have been around long enough to
grow their own arms and legs and vital organs.

Later that day during assembly
we stand shoulder to shoulder.
Our uniforms are covered with each other’s breath,
and atop our heads are a frenzy of identical braids,
mopped together and balanced on the scalp
in two lop-sided buns.
I watch as she sings softly to the tune of the school hymn.
I pretend to know the words by shaping my mouth
to match the movement of her lips.
She catches my gaze and
I smile through parted teeth.
She smiles back with her lips firmly pressed together
before the inevitable giggle escapes.

I am certain this friendship will last forever,
and that we will never age or attend a single funeral
so long as the invisible yarn that shoots from the hip bone
and keeps us tied together stays put.
It is a safe dose of delirium with no anecdote or cure.

The bell rings and we race to the sunniest spot on the playground.

 

 Twitter and Instagram: @sisanda3