The Telegrapher

Edited by Julia Rios

June 2019

Listen to this story, narrated by C. S. E. Cooney:

I found the radio he broke.
He’d placed it in the house we burnt and abandoned;
must have returned to hide the two polaroids, after—
neatly wedged them in there and thought them safe.

I never imagined him as a child:
proudly clutching the hem of his mother’s dress,
on the other side, holding his sister’s hand.
She was just as dark and scraggy as he,
yet unlike him, unsmiling.
And though a child, she looked
aware of their poverty.

He somewhat evolved to manhood:
he held my weight on his right leg
and that of my brother on his left.
Like a river dried and a desert born,
or the loan shark who hunted on Monday —
like death, fate had caught him.

My mother said:
    You should have held his hand.
    It might have saved the house and radio.

Anyway, I found the polaroid of me as a child,
and the one he took last year at my graduation.
I wedged them in the radio and slammed it shut.

© 2019 Rešoketšwe Manenzhe

About the author

Rešoketšwe Manenzhe

Rešoketšwe Mananzhe is a recent graduate for the Degree of Master of Science in Chemical Engineering (with distinction). Starting in 2015, her poems and short stories have appeared in several online magazines and journals, and in 2017, two of her poems were shortlisted for the Sol Plaatje EU Poetry Anthology, and subsequently published in the anthology of selected poems. She currently lives in Cape Town, South Africa, but recently, she’s been known to occasionally wander to the Arctic region, where she fell in love with a small rural town and blueberry pie.

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