Ostrich Egg Carrier of the Kalahari
by Sithembele Isaac Xhegwana
Twenty ostrich eggs hang from your neck
Sinew net tied around your torso
Pressing you against yourself
Weighing you down.
The threads that run parallel
to your back
Patterned from dried-up leaves
From the African spear plant
Symbol of yoke and bondage
From your many life manifestations.
Like many children
Clinging to your back
Perforated ostrich eggs
Off-spring of the hot Kalahari sands
Epicentre of an eclipsed civilisation.
Twenty ostrich eggs
Full of reed-syphoned water
Vegetal twine plug sealing them off
Calabashes that you never drink from
Springs that never quench your thirst.
With their placentas dried up
That could never see their infancy
Broken pieces pierced together.
Ornamental ostrich egg shell beads
Metamorphosing into dance rattles
Reserved for esoteric activities
Culminating into curative shaman songs
Tantalising rain dances and trances