A Leaving Song


in memory of my great grandmother

By Sarah Lubala

say the cows are dying in the fields
say there is no meat this summer
say she is sold to an old chief
say her legs sing blood and water

say she buries two babies
say two bundles wrapped in
white muslin
say the shroud is caught
in the thorn bush
say none but God can mend the tear

say she remembers her own mother
say she recalls her bird-bone hands
say they dug in wild hunger
say the earth never did yield

say there are rows of wild mangos
say she moves hands and knees
between them
say the night becomes a poem
say nothing scares her anymore


Sarah Lubala is a Congolese-born South African development worker, currently working for an education NGO in Johannesburg. Her poems have been published in Type/Cast, Brittle Paper and The Missing Slate, and are forthcoming in Prufrock

Photo on 2016-10-19 at 16.17 #3.jpg