Orphan Song

By Kayo Chingonyi

When night is at its ripeness
I think of the songs they’ll play
at my funeral. For all I know death
is like watching a landscape dissolve
through the window of an overheating
coach, bound for the nearest airport.

And if passing out of this life
is like passing through check-in
to be felt up by surly officials,
being carried aloft in a wooden box
must be like pushing back on a runway;
entering the next life like landing.

Who will greet me when I alight?
Will my parents be standing there,
reconciled, glancing at their watches,
with Kenta, rid of his jaundiced glow,
and the twins, grown to their full height?


From Kumukanda by Kayo Chingonyi.
Published by Chatto and Windus.
Reprinted by permission of The Random House Group Limited.
© 2017