Poetry by Sihle Ntuli
Something in the Water
there is something down there,
biding its time / under a bridge / I struggle to cross
indecipherable language of rivers
serenades of running water / intuition an unreliable guide
in hushed tones / a soft voice leads me in / for a closer look
from the distance I appear as if leaning in
to the river to drink / & this would not be
that far removed from the truth
for I can barely remember the last time
I fell to my knees / & began to pray.
in my neighbourhood,
there are four churches
all on one road,
each one not too far from where I live
& yet still I find myself unable
to attend a single one.
the road gets so awful on a Sunday morning
that I have even resorted to
placing bricks in front of our driveway
to block churchgoers from parking their cars
directly in front of our lawn.
lately I have begun to notice
that the road where I live has powers,
it is able to instantaneously halt
any kind of vehicle, sometimes even stopping them
right in the middle of a road.
I tell my brother
that I would not be surprised
if one day we find a car parked vertically
or two cars parked up against one other
as if to emulate the Kama Sutra,
such is the urgency to strip themselves
of reason, before entering into a holy place.
I have even grown used to listening
to sweet gospel hymns
from an open kitchen window,
the floral fragrance of choral harmony
the sheer power of the will of voices,
each a note of musical perfume,
sweet sound spellbinding and swaying
enough for a tender embrace with grace,
not longer after, the silencing of the chorus
will usually be followed by the sermon
by the hoarse-voiced pastor.
Originally published July 6, 2021