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“Saudade (v)” + “Pedra do Sal or, On love (xxxiii)” by Salimah Valiani

“Saudade (v)” + “Pedra do Sal or, On love (xxxiii)” by Salimah Valiani

the first time I flew from my child
every small being
reminded of her

the boy at OR Tambo more daring but same size
just as active

the boy of the hills
much older but of the same wide eyed world-sensitivity
missing his mum choked by drought

when his dad leaves him
(with strangers that are family)
the only known one left

the barren lamb his mum used to keep

the way the boy tends to that lamb
feeding it by hand
showing it forbidden forests
holding it near

I miss tending to my daughter

near the end
another orphan (the boy’s new friend)
bids him farewell
then the lamb too


chain of human existence

— After Lamb (directed by Yared Zeleke)

Pedra do Sal
or, On love (xxxiii)

young and old samba artists
dancing   sipping   mixing
fruit   ice   spirits
booming beats around the bend and up

in a square

bringing to heart
Santa Ria in Havana
New Orleans before Katrina
Caribana before the bank

a young girl approaches
the young girls in our party
presents them with tangerines
like the one she is eating


after much hand gesturing
nodding and smiling
we offer the girl sweets we’d bought

she gently refuses 

hugging us farewell


Salimah Valiani is a poet, activist, and researcher based in Johannesburg. She has published four collections of poetry: breathing for breadth (TSAR: 2005), Letter Out: Letter In (Inanna: 2009), land of the sky (Inanna: 2016) and Cradles (Daraja: 2017). Her latest publication, the poem-story, Dear South Africa, is one of seven pieces in Praxis Magazines 2019-2020 Chapbook Series. Her upcoming poetry collection, 29 leads to love will be published by Inanna in May 2021. Check out her work online at:

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