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Pakama Mlokoti: Five Poems

My Father Returns From Moria

Understand this. When you have lived a decade without a father
and he shows up one afternoon draped in a new religion. You do not decline the sanctified tea he hands to you as a peace offering. You do not welcome him home. Because that implies he has been gone. If he is here now then things are as they have always been. You do not question when he takes down your paintings from the wall.
Or when he soaks your bed in consecrated water. You curl yourself into the dry parts of the mattress and sleep like this is how you have been sleeping your entire life. Even when you wake up midnight to find him throwing salt in your face and the whole house is clouded with smoke from the burning of coffee beans and cayenne pepper. You bite your tongue for fear of being ungrateful. He is here now isn’t he? And aren’t you one of the lucky ones? To have what was not meant to leave return to you.
Do we curse god when we have prayed for rain and god in his generosity gives us a violent torrent? No. We say this is the nature of blessings. We say the flood being a flood cannot feel itself drowning us beneath it. We raise our hands and say; are we not lucky? Is god not marvelous? And drink desperately while we drown, for all the years we have been thirsty.


I End Myself

to end myself to end my father.
In this ritual,
I hand him back his god
an oppressive holiness I did not consent to.
the unmaking of flesh and bone.
My father on my face is a lump.
In me, a cancerous tumor growing where it is not wanted



Our father is getting old
and everyone says we should take care of him.
My sister washes his clothes,
an act so new to her it’s almost violent.
In the morning I attempt to make him breakfast.
While breaking the first egg a lump resurfaces in my throat from years ago.
So much time has passed and not one kind word shared between us,
not one moment in history worthy of this act.
A morning meal in his final years will not undo the past
or make us his daughters.
I go back to bed in the room beside his and forgive my stubborn heart.
We all die from something eventually.



for my father’s late friend

Here is what I wish I had told you on those long walks from Moria to Boyne
if I had known it was the AIDS eating away at your body.
No matter how much you bless the water
the millet
the tea.
Your limbs will grow frail and you will die.
Because prayers cannot put out fires
and only what is untreatable should be trusted to god.



I am eating all the meat in the world, father and I have not died. I am fucking boys who kiss my mouth with Peter Styversant-stained lips and cumming until my pussy is an overdrawn well. I have not died. You are not here to stick a finger down my throat. You are not here to douse my body in holy water or baptise me with all of god’s names. I am eating meat and it does not taste like falling out of grace with god. I am fucking boys now who kiss me with their pork-stained lips. I am shoving foreign objects into my body and none of them are your finger. I am making godless sounds with my mouth and not praying about it when I am done. It feels so good to not be always at the mercy of your holy. Who knew I did not need you to convene with my heaven? Who knew?
That falling out of grace with you was not falling out of grace with god?
Poetry: Pakama Mlokoti
Image: Pexels via Pixabay (remixed)

Pakama Mlokoti
Pakama Mlokoti
Pakama Mlokoti is a writer and spoken word artist from South Africa. facebook: Pakama Mlokoti - twitter: Pakama_Mlokoti - instagram: Pakama Mlokoti

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