Into The Graveyard Into the place where time gathers.

into the graveyard
into the cemetery
into the place where time gathers,

when I was four, my sister died
I recall the sight of death
in day-night
busy planting his seeds
in the cemetery of life

I see death turning the soil
tending the earth
with his entreaties
he enlists soil’s pinguidness

he pats the earth
with the light of the sun
and with tenderness
blesses the spore that will grow there

after patching the earth
death turned to go
the next season of planting

if you try too quickly
to forget
the image of death
you spend all your life 
forgetting the difference between
his seeds and your seeds
his time and your time
you spend all your life
unable to meet him
unable to hear him
unable to see him
send encoded in the silence
the secret of his time
his making of it
his tending of it
his multiplying of it

you see him
putrefied limbs and petrified hair
electrifying the landscapes of your interior
and the fetish of his petrified spurs
lives in your bones
rasping at your breath

if instead you walk with him
into the graveyard
into the cemetery
into the place where time gathers,

if you partake
of his fellowship
peer at his visage
trade breath
and abide a silence
of mind and heart
death gladly deals his treasure

into the graveyard
into the cemetery
into the place where time gathers,

into rest

Pauline Buhlebenkosi Ndhlovu is a Zimbabwean-Namibian writer, curator, and visual anthropologist. Her work focuses primarily on exploring the interconnected affective registers associated with sensory experience. Through her writing and occasional image-making, she explores how words, images, sounds, and silences articulate different kinds of knowledge. Thematically, Buhle’s work explores black representation and black interiority, focusing specifically on the ways in which the themes of land, migration, memory, healing and time cut across.  Buhle is the current Winner of the Bank Windhoek Doek! Literary Awards Poetry Prize. In 2022, as a Chevening Scholar, she obtained a Master’s degree in Visual Anthropology from the University of Manchester. Buhle is currently a Zeitz MOCAA and UWC Museum Fellow, learning about curatorial practice, collections management, and contemporary scholarship on art discourse from the continent and its diaspora. 

Cover Image: Mathias Reding on Unsplash.