Monday, 15 August 2011

Bulawayo

In the playground
we compare notes
to place ourselves.
Where you born then?
Watford. Harrow. London
English places.

I wait. Holding back.
Then I say it, rolling the vowel sounds
slowly on my tongue,
casual like.
Bul-a-way-o.
What? Where’s that?
Low key, shrug.
Africa.
Africa?
Wow. Then silence.
Staring at me. No one can top that.

I walk off slowly, nonchalant like.
I don’t know what Bul-a-way-o is.
I know it’s in Africa.
They tell me nothing about it.
Too busy with the present,
to bother about that past time in Africa.

I don’t care, I’m different, special,
‘cos of Bul-a-way-o.
Its mine, my place,
I came from there.
No one else does, ever.

In the album, a black and white picture
of small me on some steps in a garden
and an ‘arma-dillo’, strange creature,
in Bul-a-way-o.

I like the name
Bul-a-way-o,
where I was born.
No one can top that.

- Anna Meryt

First Prize winner, Lupus UK International Poetry Competition 2011

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