An open access publication of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences
Spring 2023

Swept Away

Tariro Ndoro
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Tariro Ndoro is a Zimbabwean writer, poet, and storyteller. Her debut poetry collection Agringada: Like a Gringa, Like a Foreigner (Modjaji Books, 2019) received the inaugural NAMA Award for Outstanding Poetry Book. Her poetry, short fiction, and creative nonfiction have appeared in Afreada, The Kalahari Review, Kotaz, New Contrast, Oxford Poetry, and Puerto del Sol.

Fiela verb to sweep

Fiela verb to sweep [Sotho]

Fiela verb to sweep rubbish

Fiela [see also restore order]

Fiela human rubbish clogs the system

Fiela am I different because of my visa?

Fiela what is the degree of separation between

Fiela legal rubbish and non-legal rubbish? Go back

Fiela to your country, foreigner, my friend said it

Fiela jokingly but I felt the sting // are we ever safe?

Fiela Jodi Bieber captured monochrome stills of prisoners

Fiela shackled in twos en route to deportation repatriation fields

Fiela I wanted the images but you can’t take pictures in the gallery

Fiela Mother escaped with a canvas bag of her past five years, sleeps

Fiela in refugee camp at Beitbridge // says she has nowhere to go to but

Fiela government minister says disloyal citizens got what they deserved //

Fiela Black Easter sparked by lynching foreign criminal woman // exodus begins



“Swept Away” was first published in Oxford Poetry, Winter 2017. It also appeared in Tariro Ndoro’s poetry collection Agringada: Like a Gringa, Like a Foreigner, published by Modjaji Books, 2019.