POEM | the corner of our ceiling

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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.

There is a room in the house we share

That neither of us may enter

We had not noticed it before, when we used to talk

Now the silence rattles the door

A gentle back and forth against the frame while we sleep

Inside

A pair of black gumboots covered in mud

Soils a brown carpet with a single stain

A dark patch. blood and ink maybe, in the middle of the room

A half-burned candle melted into an empty jar of baby food

The wind has scattered snuff all over the floor

A vase with dead flowers on a small side-bed table

No bed

We blame the silence for the room

The door we cannot open

We share a bed on which we can never touch

Our roof leaks. We do not fix it

The mould on the corner of our ceiling

Is the only conversation this house knows

                                                                     *

a dead baby waits for a woman by a door

wrapped in a yellow blanket.

the woman takes the baby home.

nurses it for three days,

before planting it in her garden.

it has been three years since she lost her son.

the half-crescent scar below her stomach has almost disappeared.

a pink rose the size of a small tree now grows

from where her baby was planted.

red cotton

Impepho Press

60 pages

R180

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