Poems from missing (2010 Modjaji Books)

Dying women should not wear lipstick


Dying women should not wear lipstick
or pink-checked mini skirts that shriek
sexy! and shoot right up
past their skinny knees
towards their truncated breasts.
They ought not to wear pillbox hats
that lodge on their stubbled heads
like stranded yachts,
or put on stiletto heels  or shiny earrings, 
or even oddly-matched shoes.
They must stay at home
and wear brown scarves.
They must turn their dying faces
away from the rest of us
and not eat ice cream on Sea Point promenade
or enjoy spring, or breed hamsters.
They may not run in the annual school sports day mothers’ race
and definitely never win.

Of course they are allowed to cry.

But only in the privacy of their own
locked rooms, and only when holding
a pillow over their warm and dying mouths
to stop their children from knowing
there is something a little more
than dying going on in there.


Dying women should not wear lipstick