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Jacqueline Lyons

By This Poet

1

Retsepile, Ausi oa ka

Ausi oa ka=my sister/my daughter


I wake up with bits of Africa on me, in my pockets folded maloti
Coins with raised birds, paraffin and dung smoke still knit to my clothes
Dear Elizabeth, the bus that crashed on the way to your house, I
     climbed out unhurt
Greetings from each person passing, hearing my name so often
A cappella singing and oil can drumming
Paraffin and dung smoke
Moses, I have your photos on the walls, spread in a circle around me
Knit into my clothes, wrinkled but whole
If I came back I could wait with my same ticket, for a different bus,
     that same road
I wake up in the U. S. A., hair smoothed down and throat dry 
If I came back, I could. . .
Greetings, hearing my name so often I know I am there
My mouth sings your words, hands wave in the air
I'm holding my ticket, wrinkled but whole, from the bus that crashed
To the Setumo family, I'm sitting here remembering Re hopola Thaba Bosiu
On the way to your house, chickens clucking, ringing of the hand-held bell
Seitlheko, I know, the ticket, the maloti, birds and drumming
Greetings from each person passing
If I came back, Ntšebo, Makhotso, I could hear my name