Land Lost With My Childhood by Jennifer Mariani

Poem Title: Land Lost With My Childhood Poet name: Jennifer Mariani Poem begins: They asked where the poetry came from, as if it had a beginning that was tangible. As if I knew the moment of origin... but, rather, it arose from the books my mother read to me lying on the end of my bed while I dangled one ankle on the peeling wrought iron of the spring-warmed window sill; Msasa pods popping outside the window, lying sharp in the red dirt that stained my bare feet. It came to me from the startling faces of the street children who begged on the corner of Samora Machel Avenue as we raced by pretending they weren’t our problem (Though they followed me for days at a time hanging outside my bedroom door until closed my eyes and gave them to God in exchange for the shame of my lavish existence). The melodies coloured by Neruda began to dye the pages of my days, until everything I saw was clamouring to be written, to be remembered – incessantly – then later, in some stillness painted into stories. The poems roamed (unbidden) around dusty streets as jacarandas seeped into a relentless sky; heat simmering, words roiling tumbling over themselves to escape. I couldn’t say it half as well, but I said it anyway until one day, as the land lost with my childhood mourned for me, exile silenced the little I had left to say. End of Poem. Credits: Copyright © Jennifer Mariani Jennifer Mariani was born and raised in Zimbabwe. She now resides in Calgary where she raises her daughters and teaches ballet.