POETRY

The Dish

By

Stencilled on the mid May evening light, the relic stands -
avocado trees squatting below the bowl; iron belts and mesh
quietly gathering savannah starlight. Orion falls westward,
deep in the hunt - the heavens thick with fables, the rush
of white frequencies sluicing through air - Babbled fronds
cradled in pockets of the expanding universe, the outward
            rush of an unknown wave burning bright with silica.

*

A dome of stars was language before the dish; the night sky
crisp with all its frequencies. Barefoot up on the roof, pole
and pool-net held high, coat hangers attached to a wire lead
to a radio. Searching night skies: arched backs locked to sole
and heel - our balance rooted to the roof, our ankles gently
flexed to turn our tender weight to a star where light bred
            words. First came Mozambique's stellar Portuguese.

*

The left arm reeled in, the right forced forth its quiet, clean
hydraulic movement - steady like a god moving an unthinkable
weight of air, a load of frequencies from Malawi to Russia
where poker-faced newsreaders followed game-shows. Unable
to grasp the various languages, things still held clear, the screen
spilling images captured by the dish, feeding out the picture
            of man. 1989, we watched how war began on C-SPAN.

*

Language, the shape of thought - the spark and black plug;
the sky needled with words and mathematics, the blueprint
of the universe ongoing with emotion, casual with every feat
we fail to fathom - the earth's soul our first and last point
of reference. Time can only translate our meaning, the flag
of reason black in our hearts, its dark language of fear: its heat
            burning bright off tongues with the death of stars.

*

To have known light translated life off this faint sound, every age
and every century another character deciphered, prophecies
reverberating back to the old world still steady in religion -
this was the dream heard by the lonely ear behind frequencies
undulating in unsteady tones on the dial. With this knowledge,
focusing upon stars bright in the heavens, the whispered radiation
            a lullaby in our bones, a song sung from the unknown.

*

A dishtowel dissolves on the clothesline beneath the antenna,
the moon's white sickle, bright above where rabbits huddled
in hutches; the terrified creatures delivered to small death boxes
children checked on by the day; wild-eyed, condemned but loved
with fresh lettuces and carrots passed through the mesh; sienna
stains on grass leading to a constant sermon of flies on black rocks
            where Bugs and his pals shat, their necks being wrung.

*

And to have the cooling light, the straw taught lawn, nocturnal
termites busy on winter's brittle ground, the hawk moths drawn
silent beneath the oil-filmed sky, deadlight slick on its surface,
mesh and steel rounding the ear of history above a khaki throne,
all mystery's wealth. A weaver's nest hangs alone; the ancient symbol
fading into the sky, a clot of birth reabsorbed from a race
            of thoughts sharing a genuine biology too close to link.

Togara Muzanenhamo was born in Lusaka Zambia and brought up in Zimbabwe on his family's farm, 30 miles south of Harare. He studied Business Administration in France and The Netherlands. After his studies he returned to Zimbabwe where he became a journalist before moving to an institute dedicated to the development of African screenplays. In 2001 he went to England to pursue an M.A. in creative writing. Togara's poems have appeared in numerous magazines and journals. Spirit Brides, his debut collection, was published by Carcanet Press. He currently divides his time between writing and administrating the family business.

Stencilled on the mid May evening light, the relic stands -
avocado trees squatting below the bowl; iron belts and mesh