October 3, 2022

Mr. Mudzingwa’s Death

Mr. Mudzingwa’s Death

Human Bridges (c) 2009 Katherine DeLorraine


Even before the drumming woke me at midnight,

I knew that my father-in-law would be dying.

I saw it in a dream two days ago but kept it to myself.

I went to the fields to gather musosawafa leaves

for everyone to wash their hands and faces

after the funeral. You see,

I have strange powers I must hide because a woman

cannot know things like the n’anga. Elders would say

I am a witch and drive me into the mountains to die.

Yet I know that Mr. Mudsinga was killed by a spirit

to avenge his daughter who drowned herself last month.

No man would marry her because she acted dumb.

What they don’t know is that her father had his way

with her since she was a little girl. This I saw in the dream

that made me rise in the night and go outside.

Now I must hide my happiness so that my husband

does not see. I will cry loudest at the funeral

but it will be for his poor sister.