The day I delivered bad news. | I was never a man. | White Rose. | Old age. | Bottled Words. by Vernon Mukumbi

Every morning when the sun cleaned up after the moon,
I slipped into my old white coat with frayed sleeves;
wondering why the wind whipping off the creamy skies,
never washed me away.
Perhaps, all I could do was to simply be grateful;
in a world of workaholics and undying perfectionism,
needless to say, I took off flying to the hospital,
like a raven awakened by the sun,

Being the tall white wall that I was,
no one noticed the shadowy glow of my doctorly attire,
or heard the squeaking of my rubbery shoes,
except the woman in the corner.
She knew something others did not,
It almost felt like she saw past my grin,
although I maintained a steady gait and a hoisted posture,
her blue little eyes saw the vulture in me___
disguised as a white stork.
She knew I had things to say, for I was a boiling pot
about to overflow, the vulture patiently waiting,
to clean after death.

I was never a man.
Though I was the paint peeling off the walls,
the floors were still as shiny as the stars
tucked away in the sun’s piety___
I’d always been the sweet little boy,
carving out a heart shaped wooden sign.
Be it the soot swept to the sides of my lips,
or the appetites sticking needles in my arm,
the ash of the cigarettes clouds my mind still,
for the blank canvas painted by three men,
was never truly given a form.

White Rose.
The yawning lady in white
awakes to the musings of the day
as everybody else,
stretching her petals,
beneath the lavishly paraded
her sweat,
trickles down too,
recounting the previous night's hassle,
even as the dew soaks the earth.

Old age.
Like all old things, mine is a face
burrowed inside out.
The skin__
wrinkly and folded up.

Like all mortal things,
I am the plain-woven fabric
bruised with every rushed
stroke of the brush.

Like all heavy things,
mine is a heart I’ve carried
through regret and foreboding.

Bottled Words.
I wrote you a letter and rowed all night,
I would have sent it by the wind too,
though there is only so much,
a penniless heart can do;
worse off a ferryman like me
who knows no other way,
but the way of the sea__
even now,
I wish on the stars every night,
that your feet may come to wash by the shore__
knowing then that your heart like the moon,
will beckon to my bottled words,
shouldered by the sea.

Vernon Mukumbi is a 26-year-old medical student based in Zambia, Africa. He has found writing to be a place of solace and an adventure worth pursuing.