Zimbabwean Poetry
Batsirai E Chigama

There were things familiar, brisk,

nonchalant conversations, neon fabrics

of this place that once was home.

He used to sit under the bougainvillea

behind my mother’s kitchen for his afternoon tea,

suit and tie clad knitting earthly stories of when he was a boy

and I not yet born.  Chitoto was the famous one

who thought himself a great fighter, he would begin

Among other anecdotes to whoever cared to listen

Knobkerrie resting on his lap taking the space I

should have sat.   I have returned home,

The bougainvillea is gone

It’s pink petals unfolding invasive memory

Familiar words roll off my tongue smoothly now

No one will ever lisp-mimic me like he used to

Meaning departs, fails to connect.

Shimmering blue, yellow ties spin before my eyes, yet

I don’t remember how the tobacco from his pipe smelt;

my grandfather...he loved his afternoon tea that is all I remember.


©By Batsirai E Chigama, Zimbabwe, 2013