if they were to ask me
where you stashed your eggs, Prince of Rain,
i wouldn’t know. but you always did come—
uninvited yet purposeful, gliding across the sands
with your myriad legs. and like your legs,
you numbered by the thousands: coiling around legs
of three-legged pots, coiling under water
buckets and under baskets of maize, sliding into cavities
of firewood were the marrow used to be,
and even sneaking into the layers of my grandmother’s petticoats.
in those days, i revered you, Prince of Rain,
because when you came, feeling the rough skins
of our dung huts with your fickle antennae,
i knew the waiting was over.
we could finally release the sighs
we have been holding since Witvlei’s cold breath blew over
and licked the green grass with its white tongue of death.
and when it poured, you were drowned
in that very thing that called you to life again
and your skeletons were left scattered
under an assertive sun after a rainy morning.
but you should know,
called by your lustrous rain-scented bones,
how we pulled apart your segmented body and wore
your rings on our ring fingers—
with the lustre of that sable chitin against our sable skin,
we became adults we couldn’t wait to become.
but even with your skeletons thrown everywhere,
intestines devoured by red ants and toothed zephyr,
i never despaired because i knew
that somewhere a new generation
of your kind was preparing for a chance
at this seemingly purposeless succession
that we all must partake in.
Tjizembua Tjikuzu is a writer and poet from Aminuis, Namibia. He lives in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA. He is an Adjunct Professor in English at Rutgers University and Rowan University in New Jersey.