Tag Archives: Genna Gardini Horses Heads

Genna Gardini: Two Poems


Genna Gardini is a writer based in Cape Town. 
Horses Heads: 
Try sit me by the Afrikaans boy,
match our stretchmarks with tongues,
and watch, we will only learn to love each other
rud-fisted, phonetically.
My mother didn’t understand the teacher,
who kept a china-plate in place of her palate
but, then, she couldn’t follow all the implied italics
in the harp-dipped mountains, either,
so we didn’t move back to the old country
(which it really was,
the plane-full of your Zias,
gold-rimmed and permanent, even in economy
looking the way they always did to you:
like money on a farm)
or stay in the tickertape dentist’s office
that was her Harare,
settling out and up, instead,
monkeys, and Michele, wild in our acre.
Please don’t chastise me
for having read my olive-skin off
like you think if I aired all my sun’d linen
I’d be any less of a white.
First published in New Contrast.
Mister, you crinkle off my broeks
like a yellow sucker wrapper,
calling me precious
(or, precocious, I can’t tell which
with the crackle of this cellophane hymen
caught snapping like a lid on your mouth).
You are as thready as a wear in the leather,
puffing from the crook of your collapsed chin,
asking to “let me run one of your powder stockings,
cobbled, down my shin”
until, with one fowled swoop of your sciatic,
hip-replacement-in-the-attic arm,
you sit me slap on your knee, how old are we?, say pretty,
pretty in your yellow dress!
(and, of course, you can guess the rest).
I am bucked and perched, my ‘bit chest fresh,
my patent white feet swinging wide-soled and sweet,
while one finger, thick and sticky as a popsicle,
is slid in to check if the dough is ready.
But you like to crack the inside soft,
with a little time to spare,
and I find your tweed hands itching and
plying my two dumpling knees apart
as if to trace by heart a start on a sore
that isn’t even a scab, yet.
I could slip you in, flaccid, to the side, I offer,
but it seems there’s cutting in you still
(or at least, enough to slick one smooth slice between).
So I seep you all out, mister, yellow and mean.
First published in POWA 2007
Breaking the Silence: Murmurs of the Girl in Me.