Tanana to Tanatswa

Can’t believe just yesterday she couldn’t pronounce her name
Or remember me
She just had am umbrella term for every tall, dark teenage girl that came her way
Then when she finally did catch onto the difference amongst us all
Only then did she begin to warm up to me
Half naked most of the time
Overcome with excitement running and tumbling over to greet me
Filled with too much innocence to care
Tanana is all she called herself
Then when she finally did learn her name
It was as if science had discovered a permanent cure for cancer
Because just yesterday the only sound she could make was a giggle
And she was just so proud of herself
She wore the label vigilantly
And she said it proudly to anyone who cared to listen
When I did have the time I would listen
Intently and get lost in the sparkle of her words
Then she got to construct a few more sentences
She would say the brightest of things
Even though I was still stuck on her mispronouncing my name
Then she spent less time at home and more trying to grow up as fast as possible
To me she grew more beautiful by the day
And her smile more healing, more assuring
There I was driven to protect her from the evil world
Which could easily rip away that smile
But her spirit is too big to cage
So I let her brighten the world also
Every departure made with a silent prayer
And now she starts to see the flaws I do not
She no longer answers to Tanana
Its too juvenile for this big girl
And she blushes every time I mention her old ways
Especially amongst future in-laws
What she does not understand is
As she walks around the place
Chit chatting making conversation
With a confident steady stride
As she shows remarkable responsibility
I still see Tanana tumble across the room in her dippers
In a bid to embrace me
Sparkling eyes brighter than ever
Without a care in the world
As pure as they come
I blink again and to my amazement,
Tanana is now Tanatswa.


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