Breathe as if trying to feel the
scent of death,
is the new exercise a therapist tells
a depressed client.
I center my mind to myself
and what I see is debris of a shredded
Then I squeeze the night in my hands,
tight enough to choke it.
There are times I master the
tune of my heart’s beating.
But now I can only trace the frail
whisper of silence.
My eyes itch.
I rub them only to invite a scorning
that stitches father in my mind.
Say, he ripped
the only smile that dangled on
my face in half.
It was the time when my two siblings
knew how to swallow sourness.
kept tossing a prayer between
of learning how to bulldoze pain out
of the four basements of my heart—
the landing of father’s knuckles
on my chest, and
his violence that reeked of booze .
Chabota Sibuku is a Zambian poet and writer. He is the winner of the 2020 Scripted Silence Poetry contest.