Returning to my mother’s eyes

I would return almost three decades later

to a corner supermarket – my mother’s room.

A Telkom telephone booth

hangs outside the walls that contained her childhood.

The glass that connected my mother’s eyes to the world

was broken.

The last place she slept in before she was married

stored rats and rice.

The roof of my grandfather’s home was sewn in rust and

red paint.


And still the corners of my eyes clasped these parched walls

with the memory of my mother’s eyes.


Dear Kliptown

A lament to the multiracial South African township that disintegrated with democracy.


I was told of a time in the 1980’s

before the shades of difference

had tinted my mother’s lens.  

There are a few accounts of living

that decorate her eyes.

This colour seemed to be

the happiest of her life.

The shiny, brass taps. 

Morning greetings flowed around communal grooming.

No fence guarded the contents of your neighbour’s heart.

Because you didn’t need to guess what they held; you

were in their homes at least three times a day.

Once, your uncle found me eating chicken feet

in our neighbour’s house.


Hopscotch patterns directed adult footprints.

Freedom focused adult feet.


My mother understood how seamless joy felt

before the call to privilege was announced.


                                                                                                                                                                                                                         

Masoodah Mohamed is a South African woman, lover of literature, and survivor of tragedy who weaves her emotions into metaphors and euphemisms. She is a speech therapist and audiologist who graduated from the University of Witwatersrand. She is currently pursuing an honours in psychology. She believes poetry can be used as a therapeutic tool and  uses her work to advocate for social justice and against gender-based violence. Her work has been published in Kalahari Review, Odd Magazine, and Second Skin Magazine. It has been featured in Yesterdays and Imagining Realities: An Anthology of South African Poetry. She can be found at https://www.facebook.com/masoodah.mohamed, and https://www.instagram.com/masoodahmohamed/.

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