Mother calls me into her room
Cave, cage, hut, corner of the kitchen
She’s shifting from known to strange
From safe to red, glowing ember.
I am trying to figure out what she may want,
What she may need,
We have always been in sync
She has never been able to read me.
She’s sitting on the edge of her bed
She’s echoing from the back of the cave
She’s sitting legs crossed on a reed mat
She’s standing cross-armed in front of the door.
I am thirteen
I am twenty-five and she’s nearly sixty.
Her eyes are burgundy, her eyes are black
Her skin is gold, her skin is the colour of wet soil in Grootfontein
Her hair is grey, her hair is black and slick in a low ponytail
Her hair covered in a head wrap.
She is running loose
She’s too still
By far the most stunning thing
By far the most terrifying thing in the room.
She’s scolding me
I’m saying something
We’re speaking at the same time
No one is saying anything
Her eyes are on me
Her eyes are everywhere in the room.
My skin is sweltering
The room is too cold
All the windows are open
The thatch roof keeps the heat in
The ceiling is dizzyingly high.
She reaches for my hand
We’re sitting at the dining table
She tells me to sit in the sand
I am laying on her lap
We’re staring at the ceiling.
I think she means to bless me
I think she means to steer me
I remember every word
I remember nothing but her hands,
I can picture every detail.
This is the first time we speak
We keep constant communication
I ignore her calls
This is our last conversation.
Kina Indongo is a communications professional. Her first poems were published by her alma mater the University of Namibia in a poetry anthology titled My Heart In Your Hands: Poems From Namibia (UNAM Press, 2020). Her short story “Montell Fish” appears in the March, 2023 edition of Isele Magazine. In 2022 she was a fellow of the Narrating Namibia, Narrating Africa Doek Emerging Writers Program.