Alive

By MALIKA NDLOVU

from Invisible Earthquake

 

27th May, 00h44

I write to keep you alive.
I write to resist killing myself
In little do-able ways,
Lose days, dreaming of reunion with you.
I write to cleanse myself,
To release the river of sorrow
That circles and sometimes swallows me.
I write to remember the instants of acceptance,
A stream of light entering my imprisoned heart.
I write to liberate us both,
To continue our communication
Despite your eyes that never opened,
Your eyes that never met mine.
I write so that these words of love and yearning
Live longer than those that have fallen from my mouth,
Praying that you hear me now
Or maybe on some tomorrow
Out of my hands
Out of my time.
I write for women who know this
Unbearable
Unspeakable
Irreversible separation.
The desperation of clinging to sand
On that lonely shore
Where the ocean simply
Continues its rise and fall,
Persistently pushing and pulling us into a new day
Even when we thought we’d run out of ways
To live with this absence.
I write to relive the moments
That were only yours and mine,
To touch again
Your fragile skin,
Your delicate head,
To carefully lift your fingers one by one
Gently wrap them around my thumb.
I write to engrave you in memory,
To mark your place in our family.
I wake at dawn or wait for night
To have that sacred quiet
Where I can be alone with you,
Allowing the silence to open me up
And expose line by line
The feelings and thoughts
Caught in the safety-net
Of daytime composure.
At last I can drop the task
Of choosing when and when not
To mention your name
Of suppressing the impulse
To blurt it out to strangers.
Not lying or denying,
Simply not saying.
I write to run from forgetting,
To purge myself from the paralysis
Of knowing you are gone
Yet refusing to let go.
I write to calm my fear
Of losing all trace of you.
I write to draw myself out
Of the dark well of doubt.
I write to come to peace
With you being there
And my not yet knowing where.
I write to keep myself
And you, my baby,
Alive.

 

 

Malika Ndlovu is an internationally published South African poet, playwright, performer, and arts project manager.

Click here to purchase Issue 04

Alive

Related Posts

Image of the book cover of The Morning Line, featuring a man wearing a hat.

September 2021 Poetry Feature: David Lehman’s The Morning Line

DAVID LEHMAN
You can pick horses on the basis of their names / and gloat when Justify wins racing’s Triple Crown / or when, in 1975, crowd favorite Ruffian, “queen / of the century,” goes undefeated until she breaks down / in a match race with Derby winner Foolish Pleasure.

Bogota

Translation: Poems by María Paz Guerrero

MARÍA PAZ GUERRERO
Time fills with holes / and puts the scarce body / into one of them // It covers its skeleton of wind / so the current / doesn’t rub against its prickly outside // The air would split into smithereens / if it were touched by the spines // It doesn’t seek to become cuts on the cheek