Three poems by Abbey Khambule

Winter and a dream

The city street is neon cold
He flashes light through my window

On the wall it sits like a door
Opening and closing to a flurry of muffled voices
The laughter of children

I fall into a dream
Winter in the Transvaal
The ice cream kombi driving past
Playing the music of a merry-go-round

Over and over
The ice cream kombi driving past
Playing the music of a merry-go-round

The ice cream kombi is not passing me
I am passing it
Again and again

I do not stop
The ice cream kombi is not passing me
I am passing it

The conductor of the merry-go-round
Drives the ice cream kombi

 
Things that stay the night

Last night I laid a lump of fresh tobacco
in a furrowed leaf
of obsolete gazette

As the night prowled about like a thief
I let her fabricate a tale
to keep me company

She burned generously
in the sallow wrapping
until she was ash

I went to bed with her

The night before
I sat at a table garnished with fine wine
garlanded with luscious fruit
and a vibrance of deceit

Indulged in a delectable sham

Later
I ate a brown pear
broke her soft velvety flesh
stuck my tongue in her sweetness
until she soiled my mouth
with blandness

 
Afraid

I saw the whole universe once
in the back
of my grandmother’s shack

I never told anyone

I looked into my palm
and saw it

The riot

I saw it in the blood pooling in the hollow of my hand

I did not feel pain

I was afraid grandmother would thrash me
for bloodying her favourite kitchen knife

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