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Childhood on a lazy summer afternoon

Sucked reflectively like a sweet sour ball

In a dusty Orange Free State town

Skinny dipping in the river

With the turtles, the fish and Anita


Anita of the long hairless legs

Clad in clinging water wrinkled panties

Splashing in mid-stream

Performing kaleidoscopic somersaults

Painted toenails pointing to the overhanging branches

Giggling with bubbly glee

At some Grade Two joke

While high in the sky a small plane

Drones its way to Bloemfontein

And the scent of a distant braai

Reminds us that the peanut butter sandwich

Eaten at break was already long ago


It’s not there anymore, they say

Innocent corner built up by multiracial progress

Or turned into a garbage littered picnic spot

But I say it lingers on

Preserved in a fading brown rectangle

And Anita…does she smile at her grandchildren

Or dream a giggle in the clouds?

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© Johnmichael Simon



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