The curse, a poem by Rethabile Masilo - lucky

She decided to hoe the garden,
though tired and only able to shuffle when she walks;
that place, in front near her gate, is a shrine
to beauty�a woman�s monument.

A few minutes afterward she found a cat,
buried between two flower gushes, its open mouth
snarled with the tines of its teeth, eyes
dangling outside near its face like grape nuts.

In Lesotho we inter cats in yards of people we hate;
it is said the owner of that garden dies
when the cat rots, and its fur comes off in the hand,
like the hair of a cancer patient.

She called Ntate Mosia, her gardener.
A man of The Word, he poured prayer and incantation
on the beast, before lifting it out of its grave
and holding it up by the tail.

They filled its grave with mulch and sand
then went inside to wash and scrub their hands
with caustic soda, and more prayer, never wondering
how that cat might have died, but heartened
by the knowledge that there would be no new deaths.

Its killer had loved it enough to believe in its power
to slay, even as it was slowly dying itself, its eyes
bulging from the force of two strong hands
choking its neck, pushing the orbs out of it.



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