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Tendai Rinos Mwanaka
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Editor’s Note: The author has published stories that deal with life in modern Zimbabwe and numerous pieces published throughout Africa.

Reproduction of this article is prohibited without written permission from the American College of Chest Physicians. See online for more details.


Chest. 2013;144(5):1729. doi:10.1378/chest.13-0626
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He thought he had taken everything
Maybe he didn’t have to think about it
Maybe he really had to leave me
I thought he took away a part of me
I told myself he left with something, mine
But I couldn’t ask him not to
He left me an empty blue sky
Dry air is all I could feel inside me
I felt open, like an open sky
The sun mercilessly pouring hot
No clouds, no air, no breeze
I felt my insides drying, dying
Into a dead, dried, listless bird
He took a side path and left me alone
He left me alone in the lonely road
As I approached the intersection
He left me to die on the cusps of
Something life changing, life taking
He took something that is life giving
It took me years to find out
I had to die inside for me to find
That he hadn’t taken anything
That I still had everything inside me
I had to face another loss
My mother dying of Alzheimer
Made me realise what loss really meant
Those bouts of forgetfulness of
My mother’s. That she could
Forget me. That she could even
Forget who she was. Where she was
That her death didn’t represent loss
For she had nothing more to lose
Made me realise that I hadn’t lost
Anything, me or even him. That he
Was the one who had lost me
To find myself again on the road of life
That he had abandoned me in
For me to find myself again
To find my way home again.


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