We once gathered in this sacred place,
under the Yellowwood, when the sky became
an inky thatch arched above fragments of the sun.
Illuminated by a red protea,
our little clay faces, glistening like beads,
encircled grandmother, squatting on her seat above us;
the keeper of our knowledge, our language, our memory.
The withering pages of her story
linger on the tip of my tongue. Her hymns,
soft as the sound of leaves rustled by a gentle breeze, ploughed deep
pathways for our thoughts to tread on; with her quill, we learned to glide
to distant times. Her voice, frail and tender, engraved tales
in our genes for generations to discover
doorways erected from spirits of the first reeds.
Her throat, an alchemy of matter and earthly elements,
morphed into a black hole, creating new ground
for the soles of our minds to roam.
The tongue doesn’t swallow itself,
she once said, yet when it serves a false god,
it lies ossified inside a black abyss,
wallowing, like a decapitated serpent,
unable to utter a word of truth.
We learned that a trail not tilled
is soon buried in shrubbery
and children can’t find their way
back home.