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My Sister Likes Girls and Does Not Return for My Mother’s Fiftieth

Tawanda Mulalu

Months after I hadn't had my first oyster
before I came to America. My sister in Canada now

where it starts snowing soon. Things I haven’t seen
keep cropping up. Movies are colonialism

and I’m such a dutiful director, swerving cameras
around oceans I hadn’t had before. Flying in

I’ll ignore the masses of land
locking home. I’ll wait for the next flood

to take us once we finish ballooning the sun
and her hot response to our earthly gassiness—

I haven’t seen polar bears either yet. My sister
posts pictures of herself

swimming through snow
and the melting goes slow as it can.

Every day I wake waiting for water
as if I’m still home as if my ancestors are still

praying for something as so simple as myself
walking across the river here thinking

when. I’ll jump into it in sheer drunken
blaze. My sister had graduated.

My phone’s wet. My parents buzz.
The leaves are red

and falling now. Hadn’t seen that
before either. I’m always surprised by rain.


About the author

Tawanda Mulalu was born in Gaborone, Botswana. His first book, Please make me pretty, I don’t want to die was selected by Susan Stewart for the Princeton Series of Contemporary Poets. He lives in Austin, where he is a fellow at the Michener Center for Writers.

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