Rethabile Masilo
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Night

Today is the beginning of a four-year long
solar eclipse, when the sun is hidden
by a lightless moon. The rooms are darker
as life waits for that shadow to pass. Rain
will soon wash what was once a road to the top
of a hillock, and men will climb that path
to go and replant the flag, unearthed by a wild
gale that blew in obscurity, while men slept.
It shall not be done with odium or with gall,
in order for it to last and resist the elements,
in order for it to float at the top of its pole
once again and not fall. Today begins the final
chapter of nonsense. Today must be the start
of the end of an era that has dragged through
centuries filling rivers with blood. The fat
Mississippi rolls south as it always has, carrying
the cries and frustrations of generations.
Today starts with a promise for tomorrow
when from the earth gullies and rivulets
will begin the work of feeding every river
with good water, filling it up to the banks
and even beyond them, with what is known
everywhere as hope. Tomorrow begins
with this dim day, when we’ll see the darked
obelisk remove from top to bottom layer
upon layer of muck, moult, and strip to reveal
its heart. This shall be done because of today.
Today is why we shall start the business
of sowing, why children must know that alone
they are master, but together they are master
of all. This we must teach them, from black
to white and all of the shades in-between,
for they must know that night only means day
is hard on the heels of a lightless dark.
Today is the inauguration of such a night.

Rethabile Masilo is the award-winning author of three poetry collections: Letter to Country (Canopic, 2016), Things That Are Silent (Pindrop Press, 20012) and  Waslap (The Onslaught Press, 2015).