Market Place

Main Photo by: Mlu Art

By: Mandi Vundla

There are women beading
their bodies through the borderline to get in
her village is a burning neckpiece.
The smoke is matching my dress
We wore torn countries
with the fabric she makes

Cotton feet, thread the fabric of the earth
leaving behind a trail of freshly picked navel buttons
on a bed of breathing bones
in search for milk to sew
my city suckles her in
the people are spitting her out-side her body.

the shoes are eaten by road to market
her smile loses calcium while trading family portraits
with faces that haven’t returned home from war;
the paint is wet from her wounds;
she mends their clay bodies
with brush strokes to her skin
Africans, know how to make gems out of famine
We also know how to make fire out of people so we can eat
In a ritual for jobs, we offered human beings to the Gods
because we have become the animals

Namaste: “The beast in me recognizes the beast in you cannot be tamed
on an empty stomach.”

So i thread what’s left of her bones back home
her body is a burning neck piece
the smoke still matches my dress
she is the fabric I make from ash

As- Salaam-u-Alaikum
Tell Allah I’m sorry peace does not come with food
that may have saved my people from eating you

Mandi Vundla is an award-winning poet and writer from Johannesburg.

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