My mother carries a bone on her back too heavy to latch on our sorrows.
On most nights we can hear her crying loudly into her pillow,
Her teeth biting on her tongue willing it not to come to life,
And bring back all those it had lost.
We watch her from a distance too afraid to say anything,
That will break the courage that she carries,
When she walks into the kitchen the following morning.
Today we remember his name.
Her teeth fail to bite back her tongue,
And her voice is the sound of broken spirits.
Today we say his name,
We whisper it at the back of our mouths and carry it in our stomachs.
I am amazed at all the different languages she can mourn in.
Lydia Kasese, poet and short story writer, lives and writes in Tanzania. Her poetry chapbook, PAPER DOLLS, edited by Kwame Dawes and Chris Abani and introduced by Gregory Pardlo was published in the 2016 New Generation African Poets series.