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  • Writer's pictureCamp Goldston Publishing, LLC

Forgiving Trees




Image: Rui Silvestre



 

Today, I sit here.

Thinking about trees…

About how to forgive a tree.


How do I forgive it for being so easily breakable

when I needed its toughness?


For being so tough when flimsy is what I needed it to be?


When our fathers were tied to trees with tree fibre, whipped with tapered

sticks within an inch of their lives… Sometimes losing them…


And our mothers’ pregnant bellies stabbed and punctured with sharpened sticks to kill our unborn siblings… and them…

Trees just stood there.

Trees tend to do that…

They don’t listen when you sob for divine intervention.

They’ll provide wood for AK 47s to wipe your village clean of loving parents,

And give orphans wood for coffins if they’re lucky…


Today I sit here forgiving trees for letting our brothers be hanged to death

on them without breaking to save their necks from snapping…


For not shielding our uncles as they were given a head start

through forests to see if they could outrun the speed of a bullet…


I forgive them for being the strong trusses that propped grandpa’s lifeless, headless body when the Fifth Brigade executed him as he thatched our rondavel before the summer rains…

I wonder if trees will eventually ask for forgiveness,

because the architects of Gukurahundi will do no such thing…


They’ll clench their jaws to the grave, dismissing our pain as a moment of madness, or calling us DDT deserving cockroaches…


Because if humans won’t give us truth or room for reconciliation and

confession or forgiveness…


Maybe trees will.



 

Frank Malaba is a Zimbabwean writer, poet, and LGBTQIA+ activist. He is known for his works on queer identity, African masculinity, and mental health. Malaba's writing often addresses the experiences of being a gay man in Africa and the challenges faced by LGBTQ+ individuals in the region. He has been published in several literary journals and anthologies and has performed his poetry at various events and festivals. Additionally, Malaba is an advocate for mental health awareness and often speaks about his own struggles with depression and anxiety. He currently has two touring productions: Stories of My Bones and The Chaos of Belonging. In 2014, Frank was recognized by Mail & Guardian’s 200 Young South Africans as an Achiever in the category of Arts & Culture. View all posts by Frank Malaba: https://frankmalaba.wordpress.com/ Social media: https://linktr.ee/frankmalaba Frank Malaba Prosetry




-Frank Malaba

 


 




 

 

 

 

 


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