by Philani Amadeus Nyoni

I was picking strands of hair from my teeth after eating a mango when I overheard my neighbour telling her man to go down and get her more cigarettes. He refused and it turned into a fight. As though ignoring the situation would add a layer to the thin walls I let my hung-over eyes drift to the skies and spent a moment reflecting on a hole in the clouds. Sun rays were beaming in immaculate splendour from wherever the source hid making me wonder if I had stumbled upon Jesus‟ dressed rehearsal. That quiet session of contemplation was ended by a knock.       “Who’s there?”
I tossed on a shirt to give dignity to my semi-exposed ribs and shuffled toward the door to find a surprise waiting on the other side. I hadnt seen her since the day of Victors funeral. A quick flashback blinded my vision as I recalled the moment she startled me with my name and I fell back to wake up in a jail cell with new friends I didnt call when I got out.
Come inside. is all I managed battling for sanity with thoughts haphazardly strewn across many scenes. They were all vying for my attention: the picturesque meeting, the tantric courtship, the Zambezis raging foam coming over the orange coloured raft in that final moment of parting whose sequel was the ghost in the bar.I watched her shapely form from behind as she confidently strode into the room as though she still owned it. The childhood girlfriend I once had a shot at marrying had come back for the third time daring me to question fate. What now to make of Times hands that fed my souls deepest lack to then seize it? What now when she is returned to the finger indented by five years of barren marriage? Should I feel indebted?
She plummeted into my favourite chair authoritatively with a thud and watched my timid figure slump into a couch most visitors choose to sit on. I was already pushed into the defensive. Thembi had taken everything she could carry with her. With no Television or radio to mediate we were prisoners of a silence fostered by two individuals daunted by the inevitable conversation.
Wow, you looking good. I began with a most unnatural voice that sounded laden with phlegm.
How you been Patrick?
Fine. I yelped then cleared my voice and tried to find composure by fidgeting around my seat.
It took a while to get my wounded leg as comfortable as it could be.
Ive been well.
Missed me?
Yes, a lot. My reply was rather suspiciously high pitched.
Heard you got married?
My eyes shot open like a startled cartoon characters, I must have looked like John Eppel when I told him Chappy Poppadam had slashed his bike tyres. I stuttered something halfway between an apology and an explanation which wouldnt have gone far even if she had not interjected midway.
Its okay Patrick, I forgive you. She spoke in mild impatience as she extricated her arms from the black leather sleeves of her jacket. Goggled in nostalgias looking glass I watched those arms without the slightest hint of a tan wander into a black t-shirt that hugged her figure like I had promised I always would. There she sat, she who was my white elf, my curvaceous violin whose touch strung melodies of the unseen. Oh to love is a vice! I let my gaze wash over her head crowned in winter grass, pale snow her face, topped with a cherry always ripe for the kissing. Never closed, slightly parted as though to utter loves secret in a whisper. I was in love all over again.

She rose from the seat and strutted across the room to my oil portrait which Thembi was kind enough not to burn. My eyes followed her black denims and let their enchanting rhythmic motion stir up long forgotten memories of kitchen counters and mist shrouded showers. She fingered it to feel the texture of the canvass and must have been unaware of herself when she let her finger trail my replicated chin. We both savoured the silent reviews of an ago when my sprouting beard still fascinated us both. We were younger and less sensible, less cautious too: loves mythology spoken, her passion shared beneath the envy of Dians twinkling host. Was that not the beauty of it all, reckless abandon and caution to the stars whose drool was light?
Yes, it was our throne upon Time, what would it take to re-hang that enchanting creature on my neck and crucify her with kisses? To taste of that bewildering essence that once put reservation to flight and charged me to speak my deepest love? Anything more would have been blasphemy, yet every word was sincere to the iota. What would it take? A feat of courage.

I rose to my feet, without my crutch she took me more than a while to reach. When I finally did I stood behind her and ingested her aura. Both hands upon her waist, silence in the air and the smell  of hair in my nostrils, I didnt see the world crumble around us as we became the only reality. She turned and met my wanting gaze with hers then while her hand slid over my coarse cheek I shut my eyes. The pleasant memories relived were like a song good enough to play over and over again until Time keels over. The best of songs is heard with closed eyes. Music of companionship and
synchronised heartbeats, carry me yonder the pains of these plains, this ecstasy is not a mortals!
A reed in the wind she was in my caress. Stillness, silence, recall the time when you were mine and I was truly yours with a promise to die in your eyes, time the serpent to test. Memory
the trusted vehicle we traversed to that pleasant time now past, fireside dance in a long forgotten festival, my muse pulsating and gyrating to Louis Mhlangas guitar loops. Ah a love once lost now found! The passion was mutual, loves flower bloomed anew, we breathed as one, what was once undone then re-begun.

Dragging me from timeless space she began to speak.                                 Carry me away like a bride, lay me down and love me like you always longed to in my absence and I shall return my own hunger to fill your thirst.
My love long missed, I love you still my oath, this kiss its seal, let winters icicled tear fall. Heal; two broken hearts make one whole.
A sweetened truth yet this I ask: come upon me as the sea loves his beach, gentle but hard, then stop as though you never were that my heart may relearn the pain of your absence, for without a hollow heart love has nothing to fill. Duly leave as though it were over, then when my flesh aches for you, return to love me long my Casanova.
Hush now, of loves pleas there be no end, countless as the fleas upon an urchins ears and numbered more than my mortal fears. Serpents are true when they hiss, and these lips lie except where they kiss. My souls ablaze receive the fire, let lips do what hearts desire.
I bend low to kiss her, in that moment of touch she withered to river sand and sifted through my fingers like time
through Gods. I woke up with a scream. Another dream turned nightmare in the solitude of the early morning wake. Still entranced with the poetic tongues of our nocturnal meeting I turned my eviction notice over and scribbled something I later titled „Memoirs of A Sunset‟,
What is love? To stand at the cremation
of the sun
And watch the diffusion of his ashes
until darkness has won,
Then make promises that through
loves downs there will always be
An up as two wade through times
endless sea?
Or that by prolonged absence through
lifes seasons
That leaves one dry, the other will
return for the simple reason
That brings the rain back to the itching
Its natures calling, they belong to
none others.
What is love? The meeting of a
different heart
To merge like ink and canvass in art,
Two into one diffused to never part
Until the very fabric of being life- is
If love has night and day let me burn
you to ash
To paint the sky of my world, my heart
as the brush
That though you be out of light and
I can feel you around me, closer than a
Then with tomorrows rebirth of the
The journey of a thousand years may
have re-begun.
The darkest of days are now begotten
in the brightest of nights.

I spent a moment in quiet reminiscence of the faces we knew and lost, had a drink
and poured out some for Victor buried by his jilted heart. I burnt some rubber and mixed it with washing powder, this was my ink as I began to tattoo my forearm with the Latin inscription:


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