Friday, 27 June 2025

Snipoems and words

Lefatše la bo-ntat'a rona

Monday, 31 August 2020

Sparks, by Rethabile Masilo

Your father digging sounds, metallic with stone,
makes the afternoon spark at the bottom
of a mountain on the outskirts of Mokhotlong.
You wanna make something yourself too,
the eyes of someone, their full nose,
dense lips. You’ve thought up the final product,
the eyebrows of a child whose mind will undo
this country’s problems. These thoughts your father
put into your head with the broad of his back
and the sound of his tools, with whose sparks
life lights and sends bugs into the faltering air.
And because you have survived locusts, the Flood,
fought invaders who arrived in wheeled metal
and cut heads across your land, fought blood
the way Abraham was about to kill his son for it
to please the voice in his head, you watch your dad dig
and continue to build a future around your black head.
When the sun sinks behind the mountain you stand
and follow your old man home, light rays kindling
the holy summit of your halo above a village mine.

Li fella kae taemane tsa Lesotho?

Friday, 14 August 2020

What he wants, by Rethabile Masilo

No need to turn into glass to crack, break
like your mother’s vase when you were eight.
Flesh dies, too, when it comes off the bone
while he pulls it gently off. Somewhere in your body
the bile sac tears. That would be this killer’s way.
He cuts the thin veins of your shin
until enough blood collects in the shoe.

Sometimes he wants this to happen inside
in the dark back of a barn; he is obsessed
with the maroon, omen moon sagging outside,
till everything yields to the galactic night
when finally your turn has arrived.
Your voice, unable now to cry out, rouses dead bats
you hear through the shutters of closing eyes.

No one knows how long it takes to hack life’s rope
with a dull knife; nobody has ever come back to speak of it.
What he wants isn’t in any public library book.
He wants not to bury you alive, but to exist
in your entombed company. He wipes
the blunt knife—whose duct-taped handle
he grips still—on a bale, walks like a soul
back to the world. That is what he wants.