one year away – xxi

he is a sucker for odours.
he wants to know everyone of her odours.
from her cologne to her hair food.
from her breathe to her shoe smell.
yes, a moment ago he smelled her shoe. lol.
she has had it for 2 years and it still looks and smells new.
it has a minor odour of wood.
a new odour has been added to his odour memory.
-yah, i know. i said odour a lot. odour odour odour. –

ntseme 2017

one year away – xx

she smiles so well.
her bliss feel is contagious.
he sees her crossing the road.
the walk, the sway, the unique dimples on the sides of her lips as she smiles and looks away.
he does not long to see her, but when he does, he knows that that's what he longed for.
he glances at her with every moment he gets.
one year away. he can wait.
his patience will not betray him.

ntseme 2017

one year away – xix

one year away – xix

he sees her after 10 days
he wants to hug her, squeeze her, pick her up and kiss her.
her braces are off.
her hair is shorter.
she is beautiful. more beautiful.
he has been silent about her for sometime
hoping she will get off his mind.
no, she is still on his mind.
he wants to run away with her right now
but he can't. not that he cannot.
he must not.
that's the rule.

ntseme 2017


when i see a mother and her little son
i think of mom and i.
how she always held my hand when we walked together.
crossing the road. walking to church. me running ahead of her.
her rebuking me with the most beautiful still voice.
a voice that makes my heart pump gallons.
she raised my sister an i like a princess and a prince.
no, we did not get everything we wanted,
we sure got everything we needed.
we still do.
she gave us the greatest gift on the face of the earth.
love. she still giving it.

ntseme 2017

you are fired

riding a combi with a fired man.

"we regret to inform you that your contract will be terminated on 20th july 2017 because you failed to comply to the terms of this contract. so we give you a 1 month notice…"

i pip into his paper.
he has opened it to read it one more time.
the look on his face.
he tries to act 'cool'
but i can sense his hurt.
he is devastated.
i write this looking at him.
his facial muscles are sagging.
his eyes look sore.
he actually looks high.
maybe he is.
maybe he is getting fired for making out with mary jane during working hours.
i mean, a night security guard's life needs some hype sometimes.
oh well, i hope he complies to the rules on his next job.


lady in white

all these people in a combi, and none of them thought of taking the front sit.
well, i guess HE was saving it for the lady in white.
we all look at her to see how she is gonna get it.
one man tries helping her,
but she is ait.
she has been in this business for a while now.
no pity for her, please.
helping her would probably mean that she can't do anything for herself.
i wonder how it feels to lose a perfect walk.

ntseme 2017

i DREAMT The Dream

were it logical and somewhat chronological they would call it a visitation dream-either way, for the first time in my life i dreamt about my father. the man who was not only in love with my mother but also bore me. the very same man who physically passed on in 2003. the man who, ever since his passing, i never got to mourn or celebrate because the issue is like carbon dioxide in a crater lake which on this night exploded in my dream. it felt so real, i can still feel him, his touch that makes 15 years seem like seconds ago… his voice, even after 15 years of absence, calls my pet name with a unique engraving of love. It seems he has come to fix something at my flat. His old yellow ford parks in front of my flat. The plate number is worn out. I try to look deep into it, since I am in the habit of memorizing plate numbers, but his is just worn out. I only see the last end-AJN which is the ending of the plate number of Pops’ Audi (my late second father). he, my biological dad (who for the purpose of understanding will be called dad from here on through out) has a fancy wheelbarrow out that looks like a toolbox. He starts folding it. As though to say, 

“what I came here to do is done now.”

I ask him a series of questions. Questions I, now, cannot remember. he keeps on telling me how he needs to go, I internally ask WHY IN SUCH A HURRY DAD?” alas, he keeps insisting that he has to go. I am my current age in the dream. 

              when he arrived, he had gotten off from the passenger seat. he is holding baby me. He hands me the baby and says -here you go (my pet name). He hands me, me. I hold on to me and do not let go. The entire duration of our censored chat, I have me in my hands, still. I take a step back as he folds his fancy wheelbarrow. I can vividly remember how it looks- the same way I vividly remember the tshirt he has on in almost all his pictures which he is wearing now. His muscles are showing. He is just as strong, just as handsome as he was 15 years ago. I look at him and say, “I am gonna be more like my father”. After folding his wheelbarrow, the little sister to my older uncle from my grandmother’s side appears. My uncle is fascinated by this wheelbarrow and wants to know where to buy it. Dad says, “300 pula” and my uncle’s money is short by a 150 pula. 

i intercept the conversation. I stand right next to dad and observe how tall he is. I say to my my uncle, who’s with us at this point:

“see how tall dad is? He is taller than you. I wanna be as tall as him when I grow up. I mean, if he is well into his 40’s and this tall then there is still hope for me”

we all laugh. he repeats the same words yet again “I need to go”. I look at him again, this time he is wearing a jersey that mom made for him 

“Mom likes making those kinda jerseys” I say happily.

The jersey is white, with an angel wings pattern. I pause for a moment as I deeply look into these patterns while musing how mom made it and why she has not taught me how to make it yet. I draw closer to dad and look him right in the eye. i read his face-scrutinizing every inch of it. He looks so real. He breathes. His eyes tear up the way mine do. and that small scar on his face between his eyes, the same one I have… the very same scar that’s now disappearing on my face. I am looking at my future reflection, it dawns on me. silence. For the first time in 15 years, he is right next to me. I am tall now, no longer the little boy he left on this earth. I keep looking at him-partly in awe and partly in disbelief because I want to have a good picture memory of him in my dream. I know I am to wake up soon. I know it is a dream and he has come to my dreams so I can learn something from it. Something I am yet to figure out. He says the words;

“Son, I have to go”

A lot of people have called me “son”. But his is different.

“I love you so much” he continues, “and i have always loved you. I miss you so much-not a day goes by that I don’t miss you. I know I am leaving and it’s gonna hurt you, but worry not, I am still your father but God the father is your greatest father. ”

At this point he is long done folding the fancy wheelbarrow and has locked it with a padlock. It disappears. He walks over to the passenger seat and I run to the driver’s seat. Nothing says to me to check if he has a driver. I mean, Dad came out from the passenger seat when he arrived and he is now sitting on the passenger seat as he prepares to leave. 

          I look at him and he looks at me to say these words one last time,

“Mlindeli” he shakes his head “no, (my home name) I need to go!”

Silence. He now has a greenish jacket on. The same one my mother bought my sister and I when we were little. Only one is left in the wardrobe back home. The jackets is used for special occasions like going to church, weddings and for long distance travels.

          Everything becomes dark. I cannot see him anymore. Its like that view from a movie where the main character is zoomed in and everyone else disappears. In the darkness, I can only see myself. Surprisingly, I am still holding baby me who’s weight is so light. It makes sense now. I notice now how this whole time all the characters In my dream and all the props are transparent.

          But I still wonder 

 -why did my dad firstly hand me, me? Why did he want me to feel the light weight of myself? Was it a sign that his if i let go of the past I would feel lighter in my soul?-Everything eventually goes darker and I cannot see dad no more. I can only recall the words

“Son, I have to go” 

His words keep echoing in the dark dream. My heart starts to pound. My real life surrounding becomes apparent to me and I wake up to the sound of Marvin Gaye’s ‘Let’s get it on’ playing from a YouTube auto play list. 

         I lay in the dark after visiting the loo and begin to write all these things. I am still lying in the dark typing this on my phone notes. My heart is light and heavy. It wants to let my brain know that everything is going to be fine though it is heavy with questions. What does all this mean and why cant I remember the questions I asked my father? Who is the driver of his car? What is God trying to show me? Why did POPS’s plate number ending appear in my father’s dream? Was all that an official goodbye?

Why was i on the driver’s side? Was I to drive him to where he was going? Was him telling me that he had to go a way of saying that I was delaying him as his driver? after all I was not there when he died. and when my mother broke the news to me, she asked me not to cry and I never did, even to this day. I never saw my father’s last days, only heard of them. I never felt the pain of losing him, only numbness. But now, i feel something-something I cannot explain, something I have never felt before. It almost feels like freedom and bondage. Emancipation and insanity. Relief and stress. But peace surpasses it all. 

ntseme 2017



editor: wame gwafila

©copyright “withered flowers never cry”


it gives me great joy to see them play and bond. all the tension i always see in class is gone and they just have a great time. i giggled with contentment when i saw them celebrate after a save. the smallest of them all as a goalkeeper. he is absolutely brilliant. he makes impossible saves. the way they celebrate after a goal. i could see the joy in their eyes. the disappointment in the opponents’ faces, and the mixed filling from the cheerleaders, the females in the class. i can watch this the whole day. they make me laugh as they try dribble and imitate their favorite football plays, or at least that’s what i think they are doing. my life as a teach is starting to take a different route. a more pleasant route. these kids are therapy to my broken heart, my broken soul, my longing mind. they bring out of me the kind of joy that is going to echo through the days of my life in this school. i am considering staying here till my contract elapses. i mean, two and a half years is not bad considering what i am gaining. 

maybe i can put further studies on hold till i am done with my purpose here. i am content. 
ntseme 2017




 he has seen this one before. he calls. she answers. they chat. it’s nice. they set an appointment. she agrees to come. they talk the whole day on the appointment day. she promises to come. she makes him cook for her. he does. she calls to say she is working late but she will come. he waits eagerly. the time hits 8pm. he calls to check if she is ok. she does not pick up the phone. he sends texts. she is still silent. he calls again and again. she does not pick up the phone. he gets hurt. he keeps calling the following morning. she is still not picking up. he gets worried. she goes silent for over a month or two after her conscience is settles. he reaches out again. same story repeats itself. 

he laughs cause he has written about it before. he vowed never to go back to her again. 

but he loves her. everything becomes a déjà-vu to him only at the end. 

this time he did not cook or wait for her at home. no. he left home to do his will and waited for her call. 

she never called. 

she says she can’t talk to people after she has disappointed them. yet, that is the best time to talk to people and apologize. 

silence in disappointments has never been a treatment. 

it is rather a sword cutting deep into the wounds of my broken heart. 
ntseme 2017