On the Dunes of the Sleeping Bear
We lie upon the parched sand,
hugging the skin of the dozing Ursa Mater
Who has warmed herself for eons
sleeping and waiting for her children.
She must know that her young no longer live.
She could see them for herself if she but raised her eyes
(their bodies in death have turned to islands,
Stopt at the place where legend says they drowned
Trying to swim the endless lake, trying to reach their mother.)
And where was Jezanna then, she who saves children from death?
Did she also sleep? Or does she only love the daughters of Zimbabwe,
And making brilliant entrances in heavy beads and corsets,
Gathering plaudits from the daughters of Africa, that distant dreamy place.
Jezanna, I must forsake you, you who spared Africa’s daughters
Only to make them reconvene in Hell,
Their nether parts hacked and bloodied, in squalor and exquisite pain
(Some lives make death a bit of sugared candy, melting in
a baby daughter’s mouth.)
We lie on warm sand listening to the steady lapping of the lake below.
Its seems my own daughters are lost to me in mists
That rise from an endless sea. Which way must I turn to find them?
And what was lost has now been gone so long
Years, perhaps ages, have passed since last I saw them.
Together the Great Bear and I will keep our vigil
Too weary now to start the endless search.
To re-live that rapier memory of those childish cries.
Jezanna, will you be our deliverer? Who rises roaring from the twilight sky
Drenched in sweat and gore, the protector reborn in terror and fury
To seek revenge for daughters maimed and slain?
Dare you to work your ancient magic, dispel the fog,
Force us to wake and face what we have lost?
Are even your starlit rituals enough to assuage our guilt?
A gathering fierceness rises in the night, loud as our grief is deep,
Our wandering daughters call us from our sleep.
*Jezanna, as with all moon goddesses, figures in Zimbabwean lore protector of children and children’s health.