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.

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