Rain queen. Lazola Pambo

At first I thought
it was only a myth,
too absurd
to be celebrated
as legend.
Three consecutive weeks,
we had a dry white season
in our village

Our crop was dead
we saw zig-zag cracks,
cutting through the ground
the elders called
a meeting
in that blistering heat

“We need to call,
the Rain Queen,”
I heard them say
they must have met her
for it didn’t take days
nor three more weeks
as heavy rain showers
came pouring down!

Laz at SAQA Pic

Lazola Pambo is a South African poet, novelist and essayist, holding a BA in Creative Writing from the University of South Africa. His work has been published in New Contrast, Sentinel Literary Quarterly, The Criterion, Ons Klyntji, LitNet, 2014-2016 Sol Plaatje European Union Anthology, and Gemini Magazine. Follow him on Twitter: @LPambo.

smallgirl. vangile gantsho

smallgirl with moths in her mouth
speaks anger in glances     knows the dagger of words
smallgirl     big voice     moves in silence
knows how earthquakes begin

in the rumbling of her stomach
entire families collapse

smallgirl cares too much     for such a small girl
smallgirl with treacherous eyes
carries too much feeling in her lungs
knows the sting of lonely
smallgirl sees too much     breathes too much
takes up too much air
smallgirl is too much mirror and     expectation
too much wanting more
smallgirl should know better than to try fight the sun

smallgirl with hands of spades
smallgirl dreams too much. hopes too much
wants to plant and grow
smallgirl thinks she is the ocean
smallgirl is a stream

smallgirl will break her heart with all this want
smallgirl is not even the wind

smallgirl must learn to swallow
and be pretty

vangile gantsho is a poet, healer and co-founder of impepho press. Pan-Africanist and unapologetically womanist, she has participated in poetry plays, events, and festivals on the continent and abroad. gantsho is the author of two collections, Undressing in front of the Window (2015) and red cotton (2018). She holds an MA, with distinction, in Creative Writing from the University Currently Known as Rhodes (2016).