It’s a shame we never finished mother’s house.
The plan germinated on Independence Day;
then we left the village and settled in Harare—
occasionally returning home at Christmas
to sleep in mother’s rickety hut.

It’s a shame we never noticed
the village’s embrace
of the new solar-lit homes, frowning at our grass thatch
that pricked the village’s pride and exposed our backwardness;
so one December day we molded concrete bricks

dug a foundation, hired a builder,
and left for the city where we owned
too much furniture in other people’s houses,
where we brushed shoulders with eviction.
A big house back home
would be our validation
and mother’s pride.

It’s a shame we never finished that house though;
Now mother sleeps under the glaring sky
in a roofless half-walled apparition, blanketed by the moon,
scanty taste of how it would feel
to be in a real house, which would be complete by now
had we not left the village
to hide in the city, away from village whispers
and the bushes’ muffled laughter.