Three Poems of Exile from Zimbabawe


Handsen Chikowore leaves his beloved Zimbabwe

Zone of Zero

My mind wonders, my feelings hate
To hear the horrors, all night I am haunted
The thorns in their flesh are questions on action
In their miry clay and bottomless pit comfort is too far
Their trials and tribulations no longer mother of endurance
A nation nurtured into pain and persecutions
Tears of sorrows never vanish from their long faces
Thousands like zebra jumping out in search of long denied grass
Crossing rivers contaminated with crocodiles
South Africa seems to sweeten their sorrow
To them, Zimbabwe is just a zombie to flee

Image courtesy of Sokwanele - Zvakwana

Journeying Through Food

Groceries greet me in polar bear fashion
I am an idiotic genius
In a valley of drinks
The shops have bottled so many tongues
Choice knows no boundaries
My eagle eyes begged many questions
My stomach did not understand either
Losing my lunch was normal
Fruits sooth my longing
Kiwi, dates, figs carry me homewards
My bitter reminiscence sweetened by Lancashire cheese
Roast beef and Yorkshire pudding embrace me
Food now flows through me like the River Ngezi
The longevity of exile means my
Alveolar ridge has adjusted and my larynx now complies
Yesterday’s food was nutritious
Tomorrow’s is junk
The pocket dictates each meal
My journey is like a flipped coin
You never know which way it will land

Image courtesy of Sokwanele - Zvakwana

Dining In The Diaspora

Birds clap blissfully perching on the window seal
Tables cry heavy promises
Waiters, waiting to appease our appetite
My partner and I go Dutch
It’s cool, no longer costing a pretty penny
Hawk eyes scan daisy fresh food
Edible air with aromatic scent
Our mouths stream with eagerness
Menu books flying like unconfined wings
Tikka Masala, kebab
Rice and Peas with chicken
Tortilla wraps and Mexican sauce
Atlantic fresh Canadian cod
It was the chicken wings that took us to paradise
Then the grilled salmon with lettuce that kept us there
A comfort zone to cherish
Like cows, our blood was fattened
Forgetting the thunderstorms we fled
Our bellies on the verge of pregnancy
Our tongues still crying for more
We kissed bye

Image courtesy of Sokwanele - Zvakwana

Copyright © 2007 Handsen Chikowore. All rights reserved.

You can also read another of Handsen’s insightful poems, Cry Africa Girl.

Handsen Chikowore is a resident of suburban Harare, Zimbabwe, and a member of the Methodist Church. Photos were supplied by Sokwanele – Zvakwana, a movement of pro-democratic organizations, under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 License.

(EDITOR’S NOTE: The preceding post originally appeared in the online multicultural journal New Tribal Dawn, which published essays, fiction and poetry from 1999 to 2007. Although the journal is no longer active, we are preserving its fine literary archive here for posterity.)


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