“They have killed Sizakele”

“They have killed Sizakele”
For Sizakele Sigasa, AIDS and lesbian activist, murdered with Salome Massoa, 7 July 2007, Soweto

Where is she
in this land of crushed stone?
Where is she
as morning dresses the day
in the dirtied lace of tired gospels

Where is she
our sister Sizakele
in this brittle dawn?

White powdered faces
ululate against an unremarkable sky
as bullets tip the minute hand
…one, two, three…
collarbones crumble
…four, five, six…

Here where sun chases starlight
here in heartbreak’s wilderness
here she is
embroidering morning dew
beading our memories
in the red and rainbows of militancy

Here in this theatre of slaughter
she is clearing a round of clay earth
intoning a litany
calling for a witness

You say: it is not our tradition
She says: is this your tradition
to rip the pulse from my chest
to deny a mother the dignity of dying first?

You say: in the name of the father and the son
She says: in the name of my sisters
slain in meaningless massacres
for loving their own skin

A people do not survive
monsoons of oppression
only to savage their own kin.

Jessica Horn: from Intersectionality and Sexuality in Africa.