Black Woman As God: a poem by Belinda Zhawi

, 8 November 2017

Black Woman As God

Image courtesy Belinda Zhawi. Photo: Theo Ndlovu

Opening God wires defeated women –
they bruise their knees thinking she’s a man.
She’s made of wood, or iron – like you.
Her face like momentary static – sending out
black smoke like one constantly scalded.

Like waiting on a slim crescent of moon
Speak of prayer – pray that you pray,
of your joy, your days of abundance,
of expansion. Teach yourself to pray
in words, save them through your lips

because the body as the sea
is temperamental, ever changing.
Loud like certain cracks of time and space.
Like whole weeks
where each day differs from the last.

Some days it is a warm, sunny creek
hidden between two large rocks.
You must climb it to swim it.
Pour your darkness into space.
& if you cannot,
just weep it away.

Should your soul summon,
touch yourself – again & yet again –
till you visit that hour of invisible ecstasy,
sweet communion with self, asking you
to speak a wish, to no longer erase yourself

They say bodies are temples,
made for worship,
adorn them with silver;
drench them in hyssop & myrrh.
In that stillness, you might hear you.


Belinda Zhawi is a Zimbabwean born writer and educator who’s work explores themes of “sexuality, displacement, gender roles and intersectionality.”  She’s co-founder and host of the bi-monthly poetry social BORN::FREE. Zhawi was the 2016/17 Institute of Contemporary Arts Associate Poet  and is currently based in London, working on her debut pamphlet.**