This poem appears in Maneo Mohale's collection, Everything Is A Deathly Flower, published by Uhlanga, 2019. Maneo Mohale reckons boldly with the experience of – and the reconstruction of a life after – a sexual assault. WARNING: The content of this poem is of an adult nature.
In your mother’s red golf, you ask her what benoni means. Son of my sorrow – hearing the sun instead, you turn the word over in your mind like a coin.
Ghosts are living in mine dumps as your mother drives you home. Honeycomb mountains are brittle. Tomorrow, you ask
her for a crunchie after school. Like all names of the bible, benoni sounds ancient. Out your mother’s mouth magic. Manjink. Meijik.
You are still small enough to hide inside the good book’s rice paper pages. You do not know yet, what you are – have not had leviticus angled at you
like an ice-pick. For now, the bible is a hand drum for women draped in white and blue. Ko katlehong, in a pockmarked garage, they are women made of clouds
and ocean. They make terrifying sea-wide music. Sgubhu: the plastic bottom of everything that has a heart. Shells and bottletops on ankles. How neatly
old and new gods sit together. In school, you meet a man named cecil john and learn the word pioneer.
Turn the word over in your mind like a coin. Your mother is a witness. Your mother is a pioneer, not yet knocking on doors
to tell people about the good news. You wonder if cecil was a witness too, wonder on whose doors he knocked,
for which god, to spread what good news.