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Second Anniversary

Jayne Bauling

On the second anniversary
of my mother’s murder
the two Moroccan men
living downstairs
called me to a braai
on their patio
(how South African).

We ate lamb and chicken
with salads that were cool
and fiery on my tongue,
and talked of food and music
and fear and crime
(being where we were,
in Jozi).

Twice-mugged, Adil
had boot-shaped bruises on his body;
Rafiq said he was lucky
it had happened only once,
but both had seen it done,
as had I, to others, more than once.
“You want to help, but you’re afraid.”

They talked of xenophobia,
I talked of holes torn in a family,
and then we all three talked
of getting over it,
and that day was calmer,
quieter, surer, than that
spent comfortlessly a year before.




LitNet: 30 August 2006

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