& where should I find myself if not in my mother’s eyes or my father’s hands or my sister’s care for the world. & if I should die I should die because that is the way the world was designed. & what was the thing that drew me up from myself as if a river flowed upwards towards the pull of the moon. &
would you not want to be a tide-song, called for constantly by the mere fact of rock: large, white, above: asking you to be real by virtue of movement, of its heaviness regarding movement & to be seen as a slow tragedy of the sun’s shadow.
I am asking for this life to call for me. I am asking myself to call for the acceptance of this skin, its pre- dispositions, navigated keenly by eyes which aren’t my own. by histories pieced and un-pieced together by various arguments of human, sometimes even of love— like watching those that were born before me
decide they were this thing called human & summoned themselves. What is there beneath the rock is it as heavy as the rock itself. American cartoons said that the moon was made of stinky cheese. I thought
marshmallows. Or of another sweet I cannot recall that bursts into powders of soft sugar upon biting it. Or maybe it is the cautious marble of a jawbreaker (so large that my sister and I stored them in the fridge &
licked them over the curve of days leading up to some other sort of awareness. Somewhere along the line she is wronged: touched. It might have been then. I couldn’t see. Didn’t see. She’s older. I was greedy &
eventually its big sphere would soften to a pearl, its wrapping finally larger than the thing it held). Maybe
dear moon, what I am asking of you is to become this sun, or vice-versa, or why can’t I sleep for as long
as I used to. It is not that I don’t want to be alive (he says convincingly) but that there is a calmness of
constant possibility that sleeping affords, that to be woken so early, so constantly now by my body as if
he is begging me, really begging me, to change my life to not reach the age of I have wasted my life to say to itself that I have a life to say to others I want to be in this world to really be able to hear the words
I love you & I want to be with you & you’re a good person & people like you & you’re beautiful &
not want to instantly retreat to some question of how unlike the moon is to the sun, but how they hold
one another, even if one is nearly always disappearing. Yes, that’s what I wanted to hear: myself as if I were another person in another’s mouth. As if that were what it is to live. Okay. So maybe it was.
Tawanda Mulalu was born in Gaborone, Botswana. He is the author of the chapbook Nearness, forthcoming from The New Delta Review and is an inaugural member of the Brooklyn Poets Mentorship Program. He has also served as a Ledecky Fellow for Harvard Magazine and the first Diversity and Inclusion Chair of The Harvard Advocate. His poems are published or forthcoming in Lana Turner, The Denver Quarterly, The Massachusetts Review, Salt Hill Journal and elsewhere. He mains Ken in Street Fighter.