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Home » Poetry » Issue 5 » I think we know, Bishop

I think we know, Bishop

“Who knows what women are? Certainly, men do not. And I think the women do not know either. After all, birth is a miracle, a sacrament we do not fully comprehend. It is the same with the birth and governance of nation states.” ~Bishop, in Marechera’s ‘The Black Insider.’

(i)
Faced with the possibility of kupona
whilst pushing out the product of a war crime,
Chimbwido makes a covenant with God:
‘Let me live to raise this boy to be
better than his father, and if I fail
you may take me’

(ii)
Four decades later,
I’m wedged in forced migration
and stuck with the son of the rapist
whose gun shot into the womb
of a helpless helper—
He’s haunted by his father
when he tugs
       and sucks
the life out of my breasts
when he recalls the wails of death
from thousands of miles away
when he had no money or papers
to go home to bury his mother
Chimbwido…
       How did we, children
       of the red soil, get here?

(iii)
Faced with the possibility of kupona
whilst pushing out the son of
the rapist’s son, I plead…dear God
let me live to raise this boy to be better
than his forefathers, and if he fails
may you take him

*Kupona – Shona word for childbirth, which, loosely translated means, to survive or to conquer death
*Chimbwido – A woman who aided guerrilla soldiers during Zimbabwe’s Second Chimurenga War