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“Remembering” by Tumello Motabola

“Remembering” by Tumello Motabola


We were often taken at times by the light breaking in the window,

pilfering brilliant holes within our bodies like cinema sunsets.

Since our bodies too were casualties of thought

we collected organs in bed with palms

learning how to play for the first time –

you with that tambourine skin,

my selfish percussion, testing the nodes

under your nipple for music

softly braying under my tongue, I tell you –

I am deeply frustrated by things I can no longer remember.

Unused condoms sit in our back pockets like rejected alibi

for when our obsessions turned violent

we forgot our bodies, lapping nipples in defence.

I lost my tongue to the forbidden shores of your silhouette thigh –

were we ever made of flesh then? I remember

sex became a benumbing barbiturate, a sly modesty,

a drunk ritual meant only for our conscience.

In the night,

your hands search my body for missing limbs

your fingers reel in wet circles on my skin

retracing those afternoon holes in the window.


Tumello Motabola is a 20 year-old poet from Lesotho, a country in the middle of South Africa. He will be studying actuarial sciences in 2020 at the University of Stellenbosch. He has two siblings both older than him and his parents are teachers. Madman at Kilifi by Clifton Gachagua is one of Tumello’s favourite anthologies. He also draws a lot of inspiration from Czelaw Milosz, Mongane Wally Serote, and in general, poetry that obeys the word beyond meaning, into a feeling. He has not yet published any collected poems but it would sure be wise to follow him anyway! @tumellomotabola on Twitter and tumello_motabola on Instagram.

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