‘Sunday Shoes’

23/04/2022 // by Jan Moran Neil

‘Sunday Shoes’ by Jan Moran Neil

Thabisa, she like to hide things we know.
She only two years old.

Last Sunday Gogo Phindiswa say,
‘Your new shoes gone? Gonna be late to pray.’

Gogo Phindwisa she the one in control.
Thabisa she only two years old.

Thabisa, she never like them cast off shoes.
I think Thabisa choose to lose.

Thabisa she go to church in bare feet.
Thabisa, she trip on church concrete.

Gogo Phindiswa take her to hospital.
Mama Lisa say, ‘It just a fall’.

Me, I tickle bottoms of her bare soles.
Thabisa she only two years old.

Doctors, they wire our baby to a machine.
Switch off pipes when Thabisa dream.

Gogo Phindiswa she say she never forget.
She jabber, jabbered and now in regret.

Mama Lisa she made to burn baby’s clothes.
Thabisa she only two years old.

Mama Lisa made to rinse new in lake
when we take baby body to Eastern Cape.

Last Sunday Thabisa play in bare feet.
Thabisa trip on church concrete.

This Sunday she gone just one week.
Like she just gone on Daddy retreat.

Me and Thabisa we share a room.
Open cupboard where we keep the broom.

Thabisa she like to hide things I know.
Thabisa she only two years old.

They stare up at me with clasps like eyes.
Tiny two shoes, how they survive?

This poem was one of three commendations in the Enfield Poetry competition 2020 and judged by Ruth Padel. I’m proud of that – but I am even more proud to learn that Thabisa’s mother has framed this poem and has it on her wall in her home village of Masiphumelele, Cape Town. Just goes to show writing can give bigger pleasures than being published on the page. Thabisa would have been five this year, bless her beautiful little cotton socks.

One thought on “‘Sunday Shoes’

  1. john moore says:

    Good–like it.

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