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Manthipe Moila



While waiting for friends in an alleyway 

you might make a detour and come upon 

a persimmon tree; it’s branches bare save 

for the unripe fruit, it’s floor carpeted with

leaves drying and dead.


You might remember Daegu, the first 

time you saw a persimmon: your co-

workers doling out pieces of the fruit, 

your befuddlement at why they were 

eating tomatoes like that. 


You might trace, with your eyes, what

seems like lines of decay that taper off into 

bursts of orange; you might think there is a 

sweetness at the heart of all that bruising; 

that there is a creature that made it through. 



*산 is a mountain I

With a line from Emily Dickinson’s “Rouge Gagne” or “‘Tis so much joy! ‘Tis so much joy!”  Bliss is but bliss, and breath but breath!


and when we search desperately for Bliss

and it comes to us as an alleyway that is 

paved green-grey, and slopes upward but 

tapers off at a slant; this bliss

which feints towards a dead-end and 

is really leading to true green, to breath:

a false sun which is a mountain which is but 

a friend holding space for us, for yet more breath 


*산, the Korean word for mountain pronounced ‘sun’



Manthipe Moila is a poet from Johannesburg, South Africa. She holds a BA Hons. in English Literature from Rhodes University. She has been published in New Contrast, Stirring and Kalahari Review. Her upcoming publications will appear in Tupelo Quarterly and Agbowó. She is currently based in Seoul, South Korea.


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