We Are Here: She runs like the wind

2010-12-06 08:58

Day 11 (5 December 2010)

This poem

forms part of the We Are Here series, a collection of 16 poems by

Antonio Lyons that look at gender violence from a male perspective.


She runs like the wind.

She runs like the wind.

Storms clouds at her back.

Full and dark brewing rains to wash the air clean, clean,

clean.


She streaks across the sky looking for her future,

Never looking back,

Head held high,

Lithe brown body bunching and stretching.


She runs so fast she flies,

Up, up and away.


She ran far away from her home and country.


She ran all the way to the other side of the world, where language

was strange and people laughed at her kinky hair.

They lined up to touch her chilli chocolate complexion.


They stared and giggled.


Drank her through mesmerised distrustful eyes.

But it was better than where her hot heels had carried her

from.


She ran from a culture of undervalue and taxi drivers rubbing legs

to close or accidentally rubbing against her breasts.


She was one of the lucky ones.

Visas were hard to come by and legitimate work even harder.


She ran from features that said foreigner, but blood purely South

African. We live in troubled times.

She ran from judging ears that didn’t like the way she spoke

English. Too proper. Too clever. Too cheeky. Always too something.

She ran from women’s jealous eyes and male missions to lie between

her thighs.


She ran against a tide of culture that wanted her to stay and

endure.


She journeyed a semi-straight line that eventually brought her home

again.

Not a place outside, but a place inside full of peace.

She ran so far that her mother’s eyes could not find her, but her

father’s prayers sustained her.


She ran long and hard. She ran three years straight before she

could return to her place of birth. Chased across the globe and back

again.

Haunted by all that she left behind. The good and the bad.


But she came anyway to reclaim some of the beauty she remembered.

She came hungry for people well loved and food that nurtured girl child to

woman. She came for the feel of mother tongue skipping around the inside of her

mouth and caressing her ears. She came for dusty township life washed clean by

late afternoon Joburg thundershowers.


And she bumped headlong into news headlines of rape and murder. Of

corruption and tokoloshes. Of flooding shacks and miracle cures. And remembered

why she ran in the first place.


The dust had barely settled and she was off again.


Ready, Set and Go!

She runs like the wind. She runs like the wind.

Storms clouds at her back,

Full and dark brewing rains to wash the air clean, clean,

clean.


She streaks across the sky looking for her future,

Never looking back,

Head held high,


Lithe brown body bunching and stretching.

She runs so fast she flies,

Up, up and away.


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