Image by Vicki Nunn from Pixabay


“You will grow up and be a loser like your father”
My mother told me
She points at me with her left hand
The flesh and bone revolver
Her index finger is a barrel
The thumb a hammer
The three folded fingers a cylinder
But it is her ring finger I fear the most
It is the chamber that loads
What once was a marriage ring
Now melted into a bullet
Let the ring finger not align with the index finger
I prayed silently.

I, a twelve year old stand helplessly
In front of her drab bedroom door
I am a door nail where she hangs
My father’s grey blazer
The only souvenir of her failed marriage
I never knew that a thing made of fabric
Can be this heavy
Especially a thing of a man gone
Its shoulder pads are on my elbows
Its vent on my heels
The ambers that once glowed in my mother’s eyes
Are buried in its inner pockets.

There is a foul smell on this blazer
In my mother’s nostrils
I am the smell of damp
The smell of mould…
Her former husband’s cologne
Gone wrong.

Phelelani Makhanya is a writer born in South Africa KZN Province. His work has been published in major South African literary journals like New Contrast, Botsotso and others. His poems have also been published in The Kalahari Review and Praxis Magazine Online .He has performed his poetry around the country which includes Poetry Africa 2011 and Poetry Africa 2018. His debut poetry collection This Time I Shall Not Cry was published in 2018 by VHAKOLOLO PRESS. Phelelani Makhanya resides in Durban, South Africa.

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