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Tag: child

If I could recreate reality

If I could recreate reality
I’d soften the finality
Of your forced farewell.

I’d make it so
That I can peel
Your every kiss-shaped memory
From my skin
And keep them in a tin.

So that when I miss
Your goey lips
Against my cheek or chin
I’d simply take them out
And let them kiss themselves
Onto my skin again.

If I could recreate reality
I’d lessen the enormity
Of my endless emptiness.

I’d sew a song
Into the you-shaped hole
Of longing your life left
Imprinted on my soul.
A never-ending
Heart-mending singsong
To fill me and
Fulfill me.

But wait…

If I could recreate reality
I’d have no use for tinned kisses
Or pointless paltry poetry
Or stitches in my soul.

Because you’d be here.
And I’d be whole.

– This was written for my baby girl who recently passed away – 12 days after her first birthday.


Transfixed, I watch the worlds
In your eyes transform
From blue to brown to green
From sea to ground to tree

Framed in wisps of orange flame
Your face alights, your cheeks glow bright

I sing a song about your name:
“Aim far, aim high
Aim star, aim sky
Aim you, aim me
I’m you. You’re me.

My darling daughter
You are my Sun
And around you, I’ll revolve
Eternally turning –
A maternal merry-go-round
On your playground
Of seas and trees and ground.

*Note: I wrote this poem for my beautiful daughter in January 2015. She passed away on 5 February – 12 days after her first birthday.


This poem was written for my 7-month old daughter when she was in hospital recently. She has Down syndrome and was diagnosed with a very rare and serious heart defect, called a truncus arteriosus. She had heart repair surgery and spent 26 days in ICU. She is doing very well since the operation, though. She is a real fighter and, as the poem says, my ultimate inspiration.

Inside me
While you grew and grew
I never knew
Your heart was broken
And that there was one
Where there should’ve been two.

After you were born
The doctor explained
Your lungs wouldn’t last
You were breathing too fast
And growing too slow
Your blood flow was mixed
And you had to be fixed.

So right from the start
Your heart wasn’t whole
But your soul
Was a universe
And your eyes
Were comprised
Of millions of galaxies.
Your body was strong
And your cry was a song.

I named you beloved
And through you, I discovered
For the very first time
I was whole.

Please always remember
You are far more beautiful
Than broken
You are my ultimate inspiration
And I’ll always consider you
My most perfect creation.

I’m sorry

I’m sorry I beheld you like a painting
I’m sorry I never held you like a person
I’m sorry I couldn’t complete the story you started writing as a boy
About the child inside a whale

I’m sorry I couldn’t finish your tale
About the girl cradled in an orange rind
I’m sorry I could not be the story
Of your woman of glory…

I just failed to find
Where you ended and I began
So I ran…

Die ou ma

Die ou vrou sit en pyp rook op die stoep
Terwyl die son sak
Sy sien my raak
En begin te roep.

Sy sê, “Kind
Kom bietjie nader.”
Sy sê, “Kind
Jy lyk net soos jou vader.”

Met krag
Wat ek nooit sou verwag nie
Gooi sy haar arms om my lyf
Sy druk my styf.

En sy lyk net soos ‘n spook
Sy ryk na rook
Sy sê, “Kind
Kind help my.
Daar is dele van my lewe wat verdwyn.
Help my hul vind.”

Silwer soos spinnerakke
Is haar haare
Haar stem klink
Soos herfs se blaare.

Sy rus haar kop op my skouer
Sy haal moeilik asem
Sy vluister, “Kind
Jou hart klop nes jou ma s’n.”

Om ons word dit stadig skemer
Om ons word dit skielik somer

Sy sê, “Kind
Hou my nader vas.”
“Want jy ryk nes ek,” sê sy.
“Toe ek nog mens was.”

Where is the child?

There is a little girl with a marble torch that shines nothing but the colour she is made of. And the strings, like that of a marionette that keep her alive – and moving – are attached to the hand of one she does not recognise. Little puppet, little puppet, lick my skin.

Faulty fingers molest her moving. And she becomes bright – like something unrecognisable to God. And she twists her hips in longing, in revolt, to a moth that is drawn to her and refuses to die. She slaps her skin, reddens the blue to create a purple so devoid of anything, she lacks the strength to cry. She lacks the will to breathe.

My body is an alligator. Mirrors detest me. Men’s eyes pest me. And every time I blink I am a little less of what I was before. And a little more of what I could’ve been.