Posted on Monday, April 11th, 2016

By Yvette Christiansë


There is a stain on the horizon.

It leaks into the world, covers

the linens, covers the faces

and turns this ocean, shuddering,

from its course. I speak

two tongues – one dressed

in syllables of government,

shielded by amen and hallelujah,

the other a ragged stumbling,

of this place, utterances

of silence and elation, wave breaks

and soil – I speak two tongues

and neither will suffice.


There is a stain on the horizon.

It covers the world, a curse

whose logic will not be exposed.

It has no knowledge of amen

or hallelujah. It soils the waters.

It breaks the gardens – and

these are my vines and these

the fruits of a labour I understand.

It turns the sun away and my lips

will not move beyond this approach

to its name. And, yes, there is no name

for what I see, but this foraging

for a new lexicon of horror.


I speak two tongues, one

squabbles between possession

and longing, one occupies the lower

ranges of confidence and goes in search

of leaves shaken by the wind,

the warmth of a simple flame.

Daily, in the way days go –

neophyte glad in the language of water,

of grains of salt blown up from the ocean –

I grow away from one tongue

and into the other, though neither

will save me now, or the world.


Imprendehora, Kwela/Snail Press, 2007: 66-67

‹ Back To Articles