Salimah Valiani

Guruguru Rock1

or, On love (xlvi)


— for Auntie Suli

your solid presence through tragedies
even of our making

daily activism
Winter Olympics   weddings મ૪લસ2
raising anti-Apartheid Global Partnership funds
making a point to visit your lone niece studying
3500 klicks away

conviction suited in sewing machines
there is a machine they are going to give me
which will do the breathing   maybe if we hadn’t
had to leave Africa
my lungs would still be working

prolific faith  living light through illness for over a decade

like the Rock Art of Uganda

Nazir said you said last week you weren’t ready to go
and how that shifted early this week

I made lasagna for her   Ma said
then ate it without her

Husseinali   I shed some tears   then remember
her instruction સલવ।ત ૫રવ।નુ   recite salwaat

Wathint’ Abafazi Wathint’ Imbokodo!3
Strike a Woman You Strike a Rock
your ever-even keel  our solace  rock hard loss
last invitation from you

1Natural formation 150 kilometers north of Lira, Uganda

2Ismaili Muslim ritual for the ancestors; sufro in Latin script

3isiZulu chant of women opposing the 1952 Pass Law in South Africa