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Zvishavane, town of tears
Emmanuel Sigauke
Extracted from African Writing online, Issue Two
October/November 2007

Dust, flies, silent paths to latrines,
Days when anything was possible,
when they could have asked me
to say I was happy
and I would have nodded, confident, certain.

Dust, flies, buses, screams of vendors
clamouring for the occassional customer
in a sea of hungry travelors
who have been stranded at the rank for days.
Why do I always remember the forbidding
when I think about you Zvishavane; why not
the silent stroll
with Thoko, back when we thought
we were going to be married one day
and we spent our village earnings
traveling to town to romance for a day
then return to the village
to earn more from weeding poeple's fields?

Or, even another stroll, not so silent
with Viji, whose aunt said: "You let this one leave
and you might as well forget about marriage.
Or if he leaves tomorrow
have him leave a sign, take his jacket
a cloth, something to pull out and show him
when he declares no knowledge of you!"
Something, something like this - a Zvishavane
I still sing about, but often don't remember
when I sit, cup'o'tea in hand
nibbling at the crust of memory
thinking, Zvishavane, when will I see you again?

You are not the dust, the flies, silent paths to toilets;
You are not the dust, flies, chaotic bus termini.
You are silent strolls into the lush veldt of memory.

*Sigauke was born in Zimbabwe, where he started writing at the age of thirteen. He teaches English at Cosumnes River College in Sacramento, where he is an editor of the Cosumnes River Journal. He has published poetry in journals and magazines in Zimbabwe, Ireland and the United States. His recent publications have appeared in Virtual Poet, Slow Trains Journal, Ibhuku, and

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