At dawn, a white jogger ran along a side road
beyond the budget hotel’s high, spiked railings.
So the neighbourhood was safe. But for whom?
Later, beneath the barbed wire topped wall
of the dentist’s opposite – a notice warned
of armed response – half a dozen or so black men gathered
in ones and twos. Some had crude boards announcing
their crafts: brick layer, gardener. Sometimes a pick-up stopped.
The men moved forward. There was talk with the baas.
Sometimes one of them got in the back.
I could not imagine such
On the corner itself, entrepreneurs set up impromptu stalls:
fruit and vegetables stacked symmetrically;
a hairdresser; a couple of guys changing car
exhausts; a man in rags selling a toilet seat.
All would have walked, I learned, carrying their gear,
daily up the road from Soweto, miles over the brow.
barbed wirebassbrick layerbudget hotelcar exhaustsentrepreneurgardenerhairdresserjoggerSowetostallstoilet seatwhite