Don’t let me tell you who your husband really is.
Hush! Pretend to be asleep,
that’s him coming up the stairs.
Hush! Breathe softly,
don’t let him know that you really are awake.
Don’t let him see you move or blink.
Hush, please don’t tell my mother how I got this bruise.
Don’t tell her how this man can use his shoes.
She says one punch, one kick is not abuse.
Rosebuds bloom across your face.
Scattered freely from forehead to chin.
Blossoming in crimson shades and turning slowly
to colours a rose has never been.
Purple – blue – green
Hush! Don’t tell him that’s not his baby in that bed.
Last June I sought solace with another man instead.
Don’t tell him that the baby isn’t his.
Please keep my secrets.
Please don’t tell.
If he knew he would unleash all the hounds of hell.
Ripe fruit in sunset shades would grow and swell.
We must never tell.
Be quiet now.
Close the door gently.
Hush, don’t tell me who my husband really is.
Mascara and some lipstick.
That’s him coming up the stairs.
Tracey Africa, age 40 and mother of two sons, survived a cruel upbringing in the wilds of Mitchell’s Plain in the Western Cape. She harbours a burning passion for social justice and works as an executive in the social development and investment sector. Tracey expresses her innermost thoughts and feelings through both poetry and prose, and is currently immersed in writing a book on the long term impact of child molestation on its survivors. Tracey is deeply grateful for coffee, freedom, gender equality, creative expression and spiritual practice, which are still denied to countless people worldwide. Tracey is qualified as a Trauma Counsellor and economic transformation strategist. She lives in Johannesburg.