OTHER HOPES

Other hopes
Why do you grieve, woman
When the rawness of the night is still solid?
Are those water furrows on your forehead?
Tell me why your chin knows no dryness
With heavy flows threatening a flood
Reddened eyes seen all but sleep
Yet no grave lies in the face of your hut.

What is so good, woman
With holding your cheek so long?
Thinking
Sometimes pretending to
Do I see the pegs that pin you there
Like a drying squirrel skin?
Withdrawn from the very fraternity
Which you enliven everyday
For being the ideal laughing stock.

Look at the wailing children
Whose yells are no less than their mother’s
Making an off-key almost-perfect performance
In the youth of the night
Watering the jiggers on the mud carpet of the hut
Urine, saliva, mucus, hot tears
Or is it your favourite pastime to cry?

For three days the table has been dry
Unused like your husband’s forgotten finger
Were you destined for a cold house
Whose coldness firewood cannot strangle?
Woman, now tell me
Is it you drink from the cup of a curse?

Oh yes, woman!
Persist in hope against itself
Patience pays passionately
One day the table shall be live
And the stomachs
And the children sleeping silently
And no cold in a hut
But, woman, my fear is
Earth shall have returned to itself.