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THE DESERTED WAGON

It was county council green, wooden, with
metal-rimmed wheels and a curved roof
like a Roma caravan, and a triangular limber
for towing by clanking, ponderous steamrollers –
before petrol driven lorries took the road menders
to and fro in what, for a time, would have seemed
like no time at all. This one – abandoned pre-war –
was parked, throughout my childhood, on the verge
at a country cross roads.

It entered my dreams. I thought God worked there,
hunched in his robes above an operating table,
serious in his beard,

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KLIPTOWN, SOWETO – APRIL 2010

Thunder wakes me, rolling over the townships,

then the suburbs south of the city, and eastward over the veldt.

 

Heavy rain falls suddenly, bouncing off the vehicles

in the secured, hotel car park.

 

The Klipspruit, which flows passed the vast,

abandoned gold reefs, will have risen, inundating

the shacklands, their improvised shanties,

dirt streets and hard won gardens –

and I think of the rain falling on the newly paved

Walter Sisulu (erstwhile Freedom) Square,

the other side of the railway tracks.

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