POEM | smallgirl

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vangile gantso's red cotton is an exploration of what it means to be black, queer, and woman in modern-day South Africa.(Photo: Supplied)
vangile gantso's red cotton is an exploration of what it means to be black, queer, and woman in modern-day South Africa.(Photo: Supplied)

This poem is published in vangile gantsho's poetry novella red cottonred cotton is an exploration of what it means to be black, queer, and woman in modern-day South Africa. gantsho interrogates being non-conformist in both a traditional-cultural-religious upbringing and a more liberal yet equally-oppressive urban socialisation. WARNING: The content of this poem is of an adult nature.

smallgirl with moths in her mouth

speaks anger in glances     knows the dagger of words

smallgirl     big voice     moves in silence

knows how earthquakes begin

in the rumbling of her stomach

entire families collapse

smallgirl cares too much     for such a small girl

smallgirl with treacherous eyes

carries too much feeling in her lungs

knows the sting of lonely

smallgirl sees too much     breathes too much

takes up too much air

smallgirl is too much mirror and     expectation

too much wanting more

smallgirl should know better than to try fight the sun

smallgirl with hands of spades

smallgirl dreams too much. hopes too much

wants to plant and grow

smallgirl thinks she is the ocean

smallgirl is a stream

smallgirl will break her heart with all this want

smallgirl is not even the wind

smallgirl must learn to swallow

and be pretty

red cotton

Imphepho Press

60 pages

R180

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