Gabeba Baderoon is a South African poet who teaches at Penn State in Women’s Studies and African Studies. I love to go to her readings. They are always evenings of insight and passion. This poem is from her newest book of poetry. You can learn more about Gabeba through this great article about her.
On my desk is a photograph of you
taken by the woman who loved you then.
In some photos her shadow falls
in the foreground. In this one,
her body is not that far from yours.
Did you hold your head that way
because she loved it?
She is not invisible, not
my enemy, nor even the past.
I think I love the things she loved.
Of all your old photographs, I wanted
this one for its becoming. I think
you were starting to turn your head a little,
your eyes looking slightly to the side.
Was this the beginning of leaving?
– Gabeba Baderoon
Previously published in A Hundred Silences
4 thoughts on “Old Photographs”
oh, so sad, the subtle beginnings of a leaving
And, as it turned out, though he didn’t know it at the time the photo was taken, the beginning of coming to Gabeba. A poem written for her husband. I love the nuances she finds.
‘The beginning of leaving’ – wow! This series is amazing, Sarah – some incredible poetry. I know Gabeba’s words are going to stay with me for a long time. Mesmerizing 🙂
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