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Farai Chaka


One day I'll pull you from our burning

house and whisper uhibuk uhibuk,

but today l unknot myself from your embrace

and recite to you poems about dying

inside a body that never should have been yours.

At night l write you long text messages

about how I feel like a silver thread unraveling

from its spool whilst the moon lingers on.

I'm a sucker for obscure metaphors.

If you pull a rock from a river, the space left behind

becomes a soft space and fading instance

& takes less than a second to swallow. This means

that all absence is replaceable with matter

and other physical properties, even yours.

I'm fine with these scalding summers & headaches

& poems l never send to you even though

they always begin with your name.

Each memory of you is a wooden rung,

if we ever form a chasm l can always climb

back. I am sorry for this passive rage

which always uncoils itself from my mouth

to spit venom and carnage. History teems with men

who hated women they loved, it makes me sick.

Most of my prayers begin with "oh Lord

let me be unique."

I have a phone app which seeks to fill the empty

hollows in my brain with flower names. Today's

was genus Chelone. One day I'll love you enough

to leave you alone. One day I'll stop bursting

from within myself to arrange azaleas in your hair

and rearrange my bookshelf according to what makes you

laugh the most. You'd like that.

A fragment can learn to be whole on its own,

I learn this from watching icebergs roam and roam

without ever crying out "I love you

even when l don't love you." I do.


One summer you waded into late water,
all pale skin and hard ribs, and asked me;
"Are you coming along?"
Father, l've been coming for so long now
the horizon has started to thicken into ugly light
& all of life is suddenly impending grief
& every slight mistake propels itself into the future
to become colossal. I have objects which fail
to remind me of you: rotting pumpkins, mango seeds,
a copy of Hamlet. You and l never watched sunsets
or built dog kennels from scratch, kneeling
into the red dirt and spitting out the dryness of summer.
But l do have these hands which mold my pain
into sculptures of hard flowers and cracked faces.
There is a beehive growing behind the shed
you built to house your garden tools and solitary
afternoons, and every day l look at the swarm and fail
to shed tears. One summer we drove through the country
leaving a trail of silence and greasy fast foods
and I remember the gazelle; a brief moment of luster
and grace. And then the agonizing moments
of its death. And then the oval dent on the metalwork.
We stayed in the car, our heavy breaths misting
the windshield to give us a silhouette of towering trees
and the pedestrian who pushed himself through the harsh
sunset to kneel by the body. I remember this, father.
We drove off.

Farai Chaka is a human being (not a robot) from Harare, Zimbabwe. He is an avid reader who enjoys horror shows and long walks during his free time. He is currently in his first year of university.

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