by Belinda Munyeza

My grandmother cooks sadza with her whole body; It’s a sacred dance when she churns the sea of thick white paste that reeks of my identity when it burns. “They say keep a chameleon in mealie meal overnight—” I take note of this ritual I am still yet to learn “and use the meal for porridge in the morning to cure asthma,” Gogo says and we erupt into fits of laughter. When she brushes the wooden stick against the black lips of the pot, I lay out the plates and bring out the dish and jug for washing. While I do so, I think more seriously to myself: Black magic is only so because it feeds on your soul— your desperation, starves you of your sense and leaves you hungry for a savior. My grandfather’s hands are jagged, scarred mountains with textured crevices; their geology is evidence of his labor. I pour and watch the water river its way over them, anticipating the moment the African man in him complains that “it is too hot!” Vernacular rolls off our tongues and laughter has no gravity; this house is where joy comes to breathe. When the night buries the day and the children go to sleep, we trade repeated, eternal goodbyes and morsels of gossip for the ride. And now, the drive back home is silent. And I try to ignore the thinning air in my lungs. —

Belinda Munyeza is an emerging Zimbabwean poet, currently working on her first poetry manuscript. Her poem “Independence Song” was featured on VS the podcast in May of 2020. She tweets @MdnightIsAplace.

  Photography by: Tikkho Maciel