Text: Siza Nkosi to jabu mazibuko
Photograph: Supplied

i was nine months old
in prison with my mother
on the dawn of a march
so long ago it ceased to matter

my mother’s heart broke
inside my mouth that day
i was feeding on her right breast
from 5am until 8 pm

we were in a small holding cell
at the protea police station
our crime a letter that we never received

malume you had written us letters from exile
but not even one reached us
the telephone didn’t ring with your voice
but the security police detained us anyway
demanding us to account for a body
whose bones we still wish to bury

my nappy rash worsened
if only mama knew your grave number malume
or the house number of your current residence

today
my freedom still hangs on politics
of a country that has forgotten
that the dead speak

they let us out that night
but i’m still in prison malume
mama’s breasts still bleed
i will feed on her left breast
until we can put flowers on your grave