Mwari & Other Poems

Jade Mutyora


The church you gifted us but tried to keep invisible
is hardened by time, crumbling with age.
I’ve been searching for it in literature,
in vanishing slabs of chocolate enrobed in royal eminence
in the crackle ignited at the junction of flesh,
in the congregations at diagnoses 
where I welcomed pharmacokinetic possession
and gave my blood to wrestle life.

At the brink of circadian polar days 
when auroral glare aches through my closed eyelids
I can sometimes snatch unnerving, breath-taking 
glimpses of your temple on the horizon,
where you severed our name into fragments
scattered it into solar winds. 

One day I’ll force open its rusted door 
to ask why Mwari was kept in disguise;
why the compass was scrambled.

Bvuo Redu

after birth

I tried to grow 
you a home 
in an old butler sink

fed placenta to
two feet of earth 
cubed in porcelain

watched parched roots
persevere at contorting 
themselves into concrete

hoping that a tree planted 
in haste would feed you
and your children –

three blueberries
to sustain a lineage
seems absurd

but now look 
what we three
have grown


That girl has a dress for January
saves it for best, wears it for worst
an alert of what’s to come
lament for what has been.

That girl is fully grown
brain faulty and half-formed
skipped the steps to adulthood
and split her lip on the stone.

Teeth haphazardly rearranged
like a leaving-holiday suitcase
that needs sitting on to close:
zip misaligned, splitting.

A mis-timed twirl, occluded by aura
a spray of red flag on the curb
while applause splits bone with metal,
that girl boards a ferry home.

Jade Mutyora writes novels for young adults, short fiction and nonfiction, and poetry. Her work appears in Fourteen Poems, Juno Magazine, ADDitude, Bedtime Stories: Beautiful Black Tales from the Past, Queer Out Here, Untitled:Voices, and others. In 2020, she won first prize in Nottingham Writers Studio’s short story competition.

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