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“Exorcist” by Busamoya Phodiso Modirwa

“Exorcist” by Busamoya Phodiso Modirwa

The man with the black suit comes over
                                                mama told him I act like a boy
                                                She says she will not mother abomination
                                                The man says this can be fixed 

The man plays exorcist and pours 
oil over my head
The man touches the oil flowing down my neck
The man does not stop

 Inside my too small bedroom
                                                It is just me and him
                                                His hands do not stop
                                                He speaks in a language nobody uses at home

After this mama tells me I’m free
I want to tell my father what the man did
How his hands made my body something to be explored
A map in braille 

But my heart beats the courage out of my mouth
                                                My tongue unfolds and I stutter 
                                                Mama tells me to stop playing with words
                                                All the language in my mouth finds a place to hide 

The man with the black suit is coming for dinner today
The man with the black book is saying grace in my house
My eyes are wide open
My shame has finished eating my voice

He sees me over the deception he has cast 
                                                like a cobweb over my parents’ eyes
                                                Sees me through the eye he has for little girls like me
                                                This eye is a wandering thing hungry and ugly

It watches me lose my voice 
To gain it back seven years after his ‘Amen’
The man says ‘Amen’ and all the glasses in the house shatter
All the bibles swallow their God and I have nothing to pray to

I want to tell my father the man is deceitful 
                                                I want to tell him I do not want to go to church
                                                But I’m afraid mama will call the man
                                                Her voice a succession of blaring sirens 

And then he will come again, the man with the black book
And then he will come again, the man with the black suit
Hands hungry for the darkness he has made my body
Like he has many times before


Busamoya Phodiso Modirwa is a Motswana writer and poet. She is a recipient of the Botswana President’s Award for Contemporary Poetry 2016. Her short story, ‘The Healing Balm’ was short listed for the Botswana Tourism Fiction Award 2019 and her poems, ‘Family Time’, ‘Surviving Suicide’ and ‘Coat Of Many Colours’ are published on the Writers Space Africa magazine on the December 2018, January and May 2019 issues respectively. She also has an essay published on The Kalahari Review and poems coming up on The Ake Review 2019.

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