She said, he said, we said

She said let’s spend more time together, like lovers.
He said I am too busy & why do you want to be white?
Years went by, nothing changed.

She said please do not put the children down like this.
He said never ever tell me how to raise my children & what are you?
Years went by, nothing changed.

She said let’s call a family meeting to help us with this mess.
He said I don’t need a family to sort out our problems.
Years went by, nothing changed.

She said let’s go for couple therapy to deal with our issues.
He said I am not mad. You go alone, I’m glad you can see your madness.
Years went by, something changed.

She said let’s separate, this is not working.
He said I will change & took his gun out of the safe.
It was twenty-five years & five children later.

She said nothing when she lay for queue-ing faces to see.
He said I am sorry I don’t know what got over me.
In all those years, we said nothing.

from Tongues of their Mothers (UKNZ Press, 2008), © Khosi Xaba 2008, used by permission of the author and the publisher.

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