Dark Where Loneliness Hides

We present this work in honor of the South African holiday, Youth Day.

Tatamkhulu Afrika
South African
1920 – 2002

 

Cat’s small child cries
in the dark where loneliness hides.
Cat’s small child beats
its breast in the soft
furriness of its need.

Cats don’t beat their breasts,
cats yell with lust
in the dark where loneliness hides?
Is it I, then, that cries,
mad child running wild?

Is it I that lies
in the dark where loneliness hides,
that listens as the wild geese wing
past short of the stars,
rime my roof with their dung?

Cat’s mewling, sky’s
sibilances, these
are the thieves of my ease?
What else waits
in the dark where loneliness hides?

My song has a crooked spine.
Should I break a bone
as I straighten it?
Or birth its crookedness in
the dark where loneliness hides?

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