Ma Will Be Late by Antjie Krog

that I come back to you
tired and without memory
that the kitchen door is open I

shuffle in with suitcases hurriedly bought presents
my family’s distressed dreams
slink down the corridor the windows stained

with their abandoned language in the hard
bathroom light I brush my teeth
put a pill on my tongue: Thur

that I walk past where my daughter sleeps
her sheet neatly folded beneath her chin
on the dressing table silkworms rear in gold

that I can pass my sons
frowning like fists against their pillows
their restless undertones bruise the room

that I can rummage a nightie from the drawer
slip into the dark slit behind your back
that the warmth flows across to me

makes me neither poet nor human
in the ambush of breath
I die into woman


Date: 2000 (Afrikaans and English translation)

By: Antjie Krog (1952- )

Translated by: Antjie Krog (1952- )


3 Comments to “Ma Will Be Late by Antjie Krog”

  1. “[F]rowning like fists”; marvelous simile. That alone makes the poem memorable,

  2. PS Thanks for introducing Antje Krog to us.

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