Colours of my people

Rethabile Masilo

· Poem of the day

Colours of my people

Sometimes I fall asleep talking to dead people

beyond the village aloes where sunshine goes to rest—

occasionally I see their bodies cross the lens of my sight

like a moon behind clouds.

And oh, I wait for every night to watch them

shuffle to and from the catacombs,

going nowhere in particular but carrying weights

of things they’d always refused to moan about. People

who are black and graze alone out in the cold

of hard pavements under the boot.

I am a quota of families with connexions

to the deep of holds. I have the mind to draw

a hooded kid with Skittles talking to our ancestors.

What questions and answers would they share

in the standing dusk of a mid-earth afternoon?

Oh, I’ve outlined them with a coal pencil now,

and am painting the colours of their image into flames.

—Rethabile Masilo (Canopic Jar 35: An anthology)

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