Gabeba Baderoon


Today She is Not Here


There are things I cannot tell you

about beginnings.


An engagement is an exchange

of intentions between two people

and the relation of two families.


A beginning.


At this engagement party the two young people

barely look at each other.  You’d hardly know

the party was for them among the many

who have come for the food,

the ritual, the talking.


One sister is missing.


He is usually careful

not to draw attention like this.

She will be alright

for the wedding and all the photos

will show her smiling like the rest. 

And her sons will be there

among the others, her sons

whom she is teaching

about softness and yielding,

as her father taught her.


Her father came to her house and looked

a little past her shoulder and said,

no one needs

to stay in a house where a man raises

a hand to his wife.  Come home.


And she looked equally

long and silently at him. 


And, who knows why, she said

kassie, Da, but I will stay.


And who knows if that stopped him for a while

or made him worse.


Today she is not here for the engagement.



 You Do Not See What it is


 In the middle of a conversation

you remember a dream

in which your dead father absently brushes

something from the side of your face

just above the brow.


The touch returns

like a rustle in your memory.


 As you talk, something brushes

you gently just above the brow

and though you turn quickly

you do not see what it is.



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The International Journal of Poetry & Graphics...since 2002

MAY 2006  ISSN 1479-425X    Editor: Amatoritsero Ede