There once was fire in our bellies, 
A spirit to fight injustice. 
There once was a swag in our feet, 
A need to accomplish. 
There once was a song in our hearts, 
A love so encompassing.
All that is gone, 
The fire now only ashes, 
We can only but drag our feet, 
And live out days filled with wailing hearts. 
We have no voice; we sold it on the dusty streets of Harare. 

We cannot protest this violation, 
For we are both oppressor and oppressed. 
So we watch and we bleed. 
What hope is there for us? 
Torn in two: one part right,
One part who we are.
How can we fight when there is no fire in our belly? 
How can we sing when we have forgotten the lyrics of our heart? 
What is the point of dreaming when the sun never rises? 
When the world is a dark and gloomy night. 
What is the point of dreaming when we never awake? 
When life itself has been drained from our bodies? 
What is the point of dreaming now? 

Why would we dream?
For dreaming reminds us of our barrenness. 
Why would we dream? 
For dreaming brings us face to face with helplessness. 
What is the point of dreaming now? 
When the sun never shines, 
And our dreams are empty. 

How can we dream when the fire in our bellies has been drenched? 
Our helplessness turns our dreams into nightmares, 
Haunting ghosts in a dark desolate place, 
Filled with the stench of a fire which once burned so bright?

We can no longer dream but wait,
For what is life but one long wait,
A constant shift between hope and despair. 
Confused and hurting. 
And longing.

We tire.

Parts of us have forgotten that which we yearn for,
Scared in part to acknowledge it,
Scared to describe it,
Scared to put a name on it,
For doing so is coming face to face with our lack,
It is seeing our nakedness in full colour.

So we wait for it to happen,
Our longing is a part of us,
An extension that goes on and on with no end,
Like a web,
Kneading our heart into doughs of anxiety. 
Yet never reaching a conclusion.
Broken pieces never coming together.
An incomplete puzzle.
A yearning for that which we cannot face
For facing it is to open a place long shut,
A place we refuse to honour.

Yet the longing remains still.
It pains. It hurts. It scares,
An uneasy date with demons we refuse to see,
Hearts at war,
Like a storm, destructive.
Like a force, indescribable.

We are scared, scarred,
Holding desperately to a little hope,
Taking pride in our suffering,
Resilience we assert nervously.
Wearing our scars like badges of honour,

We make believe,
That the scars we wear are a testimony of trials, 
They tell a story which no words can ever say properly. 

We tell ourselves that these scars on our hearts,
Are memories of love we felt deeply and of trust misplaced,
They are like rich, ancient text telling tales of sorrow and pain. 
They adorn our hearts as expensive ornaments,
Worth their price in blood and sweat. 

The scars on our minds were fashioned from broken dreams and missed opportunities. 
We got them when we were foolish warriors shooting for the stars. 
They are our crowns embedded with sparkling courage and hope.
We will tell of the scars on our feet, they are struggles of those who came before us, 
They tell how they fought for the spaces which we now occupy. 
They are the treasure to be passed to those who will come after us. 

The scars on our hands are from the many responsibilities viciously dumped on us, 
They tell sad stories of a system which takes and takes yet give so little in return. 
They are palms begging for leniency, and a little balm maybe? 

The scars in our eyes are from seeing too much injustice. 
Too much violence, too much discrimination. 
These scars are our spectacles helping us see the world more clearly.
These scars scattered on our bodies are reminders that we survived the horrors, and we live to fight again.

Yet we know,
That we are all balls of mess,
Explosions in waiting.

About the Author:

Muyera Sokoo is a Zimbabwean poet and storyteller. She is based in Marondera, Zimbabwe. She is passionate about all things women. She believes in making women’s voices heard and in the power of words to bring on healing and change. Her work also appears in Sesu and The Weight She Carries magazines. 

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