If Everyday Was June

I’ve always been fascinated by the appearance of rainbow in the sky. I don’t know exactly why. And of all the months in the year, I’ve discovered that I see more rainbows in June. It’s the time of the year when, often times, it would be shinning and raining at the same time. The natural phenomenon also wakes a lot of memories and thoughts inside me. Naturally. From the beauty of life, to the colours of love, and the transient nature of everything that we may now have. I wish June could last all year long. If only everyday was June…

If Everyday was June

If everyday was June
I would have sworn
That our lips will never path in this kiss
Of raving romance.

If everyday was June
I would have sworn
There will be no heartbreak
in our love affair

…the kiss of the sun and the rain
Paints the rainbow in June
and afterwards, leaves
an empty cloud for the earth.


‘If Everyday was June’ is selected from Senator Ihenyen’s Colourless Rainbow, Coast2Coast, 2011, 72.


Like the Very First Day at the Railway Crossroad

Whenever I look into your eyes

I discover how long you’ve been staring silently at me

From your sickbed

As I sat beside you seeming

lost in empty space

with your right hand clasped into mine

I could tell what worries weighed you down

What hopelessness held your heart

In this haze of uncertainties,

wondering if the hand you now hold so tightly

would ever let go.

How can I ever forget you in this moment of your life

When I cannot stop remembering what you mean to me?

As incurable as the virus holding your other hand

My love for you holds on to the other

And beyond this, hold on to your heart

To give life the meaning we have both known over the years

Together in the bliss of life’s beauty

Hidden in hate, but visible in love.

If this is not more than a disease,

Let our love be the vaccine fighting it off together

Giving us the chance to rediscover the treasures

And cherish every moment from now in the coming re-enchantment

Such re-enchantment like falling in love with you, Elizabeth

All over again like the very first time

When two strangers met at the crossroad along the railway

but hand-in-hand

we got to the other side as lovers

and have never looked back, just like trains never go backwards.

“I love you, Lizzy”, I whispered to her.

We’re in this train together,

Because watching you leave

while I wave goodbye with tear-filled smiles from the train station

is only one choice.

But who needs one choice to live

When many times the colours of your love

Paint rainbow of choices on the canvass of our lives
Giving life more meaning
in moments too memorable to forget,
“I love you too, sweetheart.”

And her smiles burst into a soft-sounding chuckle
Like the very first day at the railway crossroad.

Who Deflowered You?


Innocence sparked in my eyes
when I met you
naked along the silent stream
waking tides of love in my heart
coloured like an angel

under the spotless moonlight
we found a home in my heart
and in my hut, another.

Transfixed, I close my eyes,
Held out my lips of love to yours –

Blood it was that I kissed.

Slowly, silently,
I lay you down on my waiting mat
And lit the wick of our flesh with the fire of desire
But it was a bloodless night –
The last blood of innocence had dried out.

“My beloved –
Who deflowered you?”

HIV/AIDS Poems from ‘Ripples Across Lives’

UPDATED: November 19, 2013:

I had started a special poetry against HIV/AIDS project in 2005. The dream was to start and complete a collection of HIV/AIDS poems that is predominantly centred on the virus and disease.

Being a work in progress, the proposed collection had been tentatively titled “Ripples Across Lives: Poetry against HIV/AIDS.

Eight years later, after generations of many drafts and redrafts mainly informed by the significant change in perspective on HIV/AIDS as death-knells to the human race to HIV/AIDS as medical conditions that can be controlled and conquered, I am happy to let you all know that my collection of poems on HIV/AIDS, Stranger in the Mirror of My Life: Poems for Everyone Affected by HIV/AIDS! is now ready for release this month of November 2013, ahead of World Aids Day!

To be one of the first to know as soon as the ebook is available, simply click this linkclick this link or subscribe to this blog!

…Some of the Poems

Stranger in the Mirror of My Life

Before me is a mirror
A mirror beside my bed
Away from the sun burning brightly
Outside the window’s blinds in my darksome room

For a moment
Before the mirror
I stand to see the face of the victim
Whose result returned a death sentence
After a test
And another test and yet another
But they kept coming back
One and the same
Like the torrent of tears that keep returning to your eyes
When the heart remains wet with worries

Wavering worries of one’s life walking away from the door,
As the wall clock ticks unrestrained,
Untouched, unconcerned,
Like the footsteps of the world around you moving on,
Unaffected, unmoved, unstirred.

In the mirror
I found a face
A certain face too afraid to look at me.
The face of a stranger –
A strange face sketched in the shadows of my unlit room
Against the fiery fingers of the sun
Flicking the window’s blinds on a fateful morning
To irradiate my day

I know this face hiding in the mirror isn’t me –
It couldn’t be me!
I look straight into her eyes,
It was then she looked back at me –
Petrified, she crept back into the closet of her life.

I walk slowly and gently towards her,
Suddenly the stranger steps closer and closer towards me.
And when my feet froze on the floor
Upon the freezing fear that gripped me,
The stranger in the mirror startles –
Faint-hearted, intimidated

This stranger is not me
No, not me!
She is just a shadow –
The shadow of someone too locked-up in her closet to open up to me.
She is a stranger too steeped in shame to stand up to herself
And say:

“I’m Hannah,
I’m HIV positive –
How beautiful life could be
When I open the window’s blinds in my heart
And let the rays of the sun
Overshadow the stranger in the mirror of my life.”


That dark night
I’d screamed when his hands pinned me to the wall,
Pushed me to the ground,
Shuddering and struggling under his climbing shadow,
Screaming aloud as my shrill voice pierced the night
But my cries only unleashed his terror on me.

Under muffled breath
His thrust tore into me
Leaving behind
A broken hymen!

Just yesterday
After several seasons of sickness unending
He died of AIDS –
How could I’ve known
He only cared for a virgin cure,
Not my heart?

Still fourteen
Two-year-old baby left with grandma down the alley
The streetlights of Harare beam with little hope
Just like every other night

(c)senatorihenyen2013Culled from the forthcoming collection, Stranger in the Mirror of My Life: Poems for Everyone Affected by HIV/AIDS!, these poems are subject to copyright protection. Author’s permission is to be sought where the use of any of the poems printed here or anywhere on this blog is intended. You’re always welcome to contact the author here.