After exile

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After exile   These dark days and nights are signposted for us in omens: ... I drive through winter's most savage northwest storm for our reunion, along the Old Cape Road passing a crumpled BMW with bloody dead inside through devil'...

After exile

 

These dark days and nights

are signposted for us in omens:

... I drive through winter's

most savage northwest storm

for our reunion, along the Old Cape Road

passing a crumpled BMW with bloody dead inside

through devil's wind and murderers' rain

to a frail wooden seaside bungalow

for our reunion.

 

(On the car radio, vultures of Boipatong

hack a path through bloodflesh to

join apartheid's feasting

hyenas) — low in mountain nightmist

an owl swoops through my headlights

to feast on leopard toads

hopping the old road

by their thousand

through the stormrain.

 

Through blood, owl, frog and rain

to your seashack:

a womb I desire

whose amniotic sac holds

whisky, wine, African herb …

… we’re entranced, reminiscing

Africa, trying to understand the pain

of being reunited in an old triangle of

love, exile and return.

 

The omens of recent weeks:

a leopard in the road,

A woman immolates herself before her children

in Zimbabwe — and a thin family on the road

to Beitbridge — a mother and her children -

on their knees in dark rags whipping

about their thin bones in a dust devil's

soul-scouring wind, hands clasped in prayer

for food from us, invisible Gods,

or devils, speeding in our motor car

to a new exile that's also

a settler's return.

to South Africa from Zimbabwe.

 

We stormed into the talking night

a triangle of friends and lovers,

you pushed me to the brink -

I wept, you said you

loved me, we slept.

 

Alone I awoke in my crystal morn –

Back home I was and

Back home I watched

the unpainted dawn spring

upon her canvas sea.

                                                                                    (9/92)

 

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