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The Africa I left three times

has left me now

suitcases piled with clothes

three sizes too small


Dressed as a smiling domestic

she walked out and slammed the door

there’s no way back

save through this camera’s eye


My mother, there behind that door

unreachable, looks out

from her bedroom window

in West Park cemetery


Still young and beautiful

she parts the curtains

watches trolley buses

red for whites she calls Europeans

green for blacks she calls Natives


Downtown a train waits by a platform

bound for Sophiatown


Now comes a conjuring trick

a word misspelled

pieces of a puzzle that no longer fit

the Africa I left three times

and now revisit

gone forever

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© Johnmichael Simon



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