Harare Zimbabwe


The Glance

I can see it in your eyes; the way you look at me says it all,

Words are not necessary; they could never express it better.

I can see what you are saying and it pierces my core,

It cuts little by little pieces of my heart.

Don’t turn away, what good will come of it,

Spoilt milk is beyond gathering,

Maybe in reparation, to save me more shame,

But your judgment you have pronounced,

Your condemnation stated: loud and clear

She is less than human.

You judge me, yet you know me not

You condemn me without taking heed of my state

No decibel from my lips have your ears ever heard, then why?

Why do you think that?

Why do you disregard me as human?

Am I not like you: a woman, a human being, a mother?

Am I not like your sister, mother, even wife?

Do I not love like you love?

Laugh at the same jokes,

Live with like hopes?

Do I not possess dreams, belief, and even political affiliation?

I do. I am not like that, less than human I mean.

Had I had life better, would I be here?

Had I much of choice about my tomorrow,

Had I certitude about my next meal,

Security about my home,

I would not be here.

At least let me speak to you, let me share my story

But before that, please stop it.

Stop looking at me like that.

Open your ears, not your eyes,

Your heart, not your mind, and let me tell,

Let me tell my tale.

Listen and see, and only then, only then, judge.

Let me know if you think still

She is less than human

By no fault of mine was I born into that family,

By no fault of mine did my father abuse me at six,

Abandon us at eight.

By no fault of mine did my mother leave us homeless with her death,

Tossed and turned between lustful relatives and friends, unwanted, unneeded, despised

Chance brought me to the big city, the place of dreams… so I hoped

But how cruel it was.

By no fault of mine was I to be a mother at sixteen,

Oh my baby, how I would do anything that she turn out better,

How I would kill to give her a home, a father,

But alas, all love in this world is empty promises and quick morning departures to their homes.

If only you had known, would you judge?

Would you still condemn me, still call me

Less than human?

So I ended up here, again dejected by daylight,

My only love is the death of night,

In the scurry of dark corners, crannies and nooks,

At least there I am respected, I have a name, I am not judged.

Out in the day, cruelty confronts me,

Your eyes just remind me that it is I,

I who breaks homes,

I who carries the illness,

I whom nobody wants, but all desire,

A mere tool, a thing among creation, barely worth anything,

Just there, just me,

Less than human.

So go ahead, stare.

No more do I care.

Munyaradzi Mushuku