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116 Sophie Tanatsei Gambura Those damned crayons spread out on The table on the opposite side of the Hemisphere, they engendered My misfortune. They gleamed at me, magnificent in their resplendent, multi-coloured skins. Side by side – - staring. My seven-year-old-self threw me Away the second she decided to walk across The classroom to fair Sophie, Fair Sophie with the ivory skin and slight nose, Fair Sophie whose hair was the mane of a fairytale horse, Fair Sophie who seemed to share Secrets with the grade two Teacher whenever she read To her in the mornings. My seven-year-old-self asked for those crayons, Was refused them, and silently thanked their Owner for her precious time. My seven-year-old-self wakes Up every morning, falls onto her knees and Rasps violent prayers to a god she has Been told answers the prayers of little children. She asks him that when she opens the plug, Empties her bath, steps out of the tub and dries Herself with a clean, white towel, the colour of 117 Her skin washes away with the gulping, gurgling, Dirty water. My seven-year-old-self speaks with Perfume in her mouth and pretends it doesn’t Burn. My seven-year-old-self swallowed Another tongue whole. Now, that tongue shames her. My stomach wrenches itself and heaves. I bite my tongue and taste my own blood. My breath wreaks of my own blood. I pine to Pull that Tongue out Of my Mouth and Replace it with my own, the one My mother died a million deaths to give me: Her legs spread wide open, head thrown back, eyes shut in agony, voice straining to curse Her womanhood. My mother fought to give me lifeand a tongue I have now lost. ...


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MARC Record
Launched on MUSE
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