Image by Johan Lind from Pixabay


for the multi-national mourning families at the Ethiopian airplane crash site

I have come to take you home
Where I have prepared you a comfortable bed
A bed more comfortable than the jet window seat
I have covered the bed with new white sheets
To heal the jet lag in your veins
To silence the bellow of jet engines in your eardrums
In these windy dusty plains of Bishoftu
You are everything
You are charcoal earth
You are torn fabric
You are melted aluminium
You are bones and rubber
You are mother
You are father
You are daughter
You are son
You are wife
You are husband
You are flesh ash.

I can still capture your scent
In every piece in the rubble
But when I try to pick it
I end up with jet fuel fumes
On the scoop of my palm
Trying to capture and hold you
Becomes a tricky game of hand and butterflies
In these sombre plains of Bishoftu
They point you here
They point you there
They point you everywhere
I dolefully wail and stomp the ground
Yet knowing that you might even
Be the sand grains underneath my shoes.

Many times you laughed at me
For my million failed attempts
To fit a ship in a bottle
But here in the drab plains of Bishoftu
I have easily made you to fit in a plastic water bottle
With just one attempt.

I have come to take you home
Where I have built you unfailing wings
Made of sweet memories and homely warmth
And golden sunsets
Reliable wings so that in your next journey
You stay in the skies for eternities.

I have come to take you home
Where love doesn’t stall
Come home
Buya ekhaya

*Buya Ekhaya is ‘come home’ in Zulu

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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