Aloe Vera Fences

Sir grows Aloe at school. Stares
Into morning mist
Watering her.

Friends giggle. See me by
The mulberry tree, mouth red
Amaranth; smelling of her
Flavoured lip gloss.

Sir rages.

Pages through me. Scribbles
Teeth across love notes. Marking me.
Warning me. Biting
Till hearts bleed.

Final bell rings, I am blood
Unbodied, thirsting for her
Fleshy arms to hold me. Let me be

After a swim at a local pool, boys
Break into his garden, break her
Arms; wear her spit.

End of Visiting Hours

The foreignness of a feeble hand, cold against a naked elbow. A gentle kiss on the skin where a widow’s peak once hung unwontedly echoes ward 585.

Gelid fingertips crawl down spine; out in the fading sun a little boy refuses to wear mother’s toggle cardigan.

She removes a lump of silver from her left breast. Puts it in a tiny hand wrapped in a banknote and pulsing with the beating of her heart. Dabs her thumb promptly with a wet beery tongue, wipes at corners of tender eyes blinded by taxi rank light—pours into them love she could only afford.

The Aviatrix of Ka-Nala

Cornsilk chapel train leaves
Contrail of dance over
Fifteenth Avenue –
Grey-tinged tarred taxiway –
Melting asphalt sky torn into two
Shy eyes landed; heart
Beating against slipstream of dreams
Silvered stiletto daggers skirting round
Potholes of uncertainty, galumphing
Across sea of eyes, fences;
Smiling faces that sing:
No longer will you fly!

We All Want to Eat the Sun

Our guts moan
We all want to eat the sun
Each a bowl full of burning stars
Girls with bowls of full moons
I remember Seth often
Choking on space dust
Shirl saving him with
A glass overflowing oceans
Mediterranean blue
We eat worlds together
Vomit fumes that melt
All ice in the universe

I See You

(for Tshego)

You have my mother’s eyes.
I see her
in your selfies.
Updates, Posts, Statuses: reshuffling
of your thousand smiles, profiles.
Apple of my eye, ebbing away with
the ever-changing timeline.
In updates of your becoming I wonder:
Did I miss your new post;
status of your belonging to a new world?
I see you
in her Kodak eyes.
It’s always been you
extending her; extending yourself;
extending the cosmos; reaching,
calling unawares against
my unmaking.

Anna’s Eighty-eight

(for Anna Mabothito Nkambule)

Willed, intended,
Auntie Annitjie –
Her house quieted,
Music folded up, away, thinned by
Closed wings –
All wars shall douse at a single flutter.
But by wild whim she whirls,
Her smock-frock wheeling above mountains,
Rivers, fields.
Like moons, stars, she orbits the sun;
Tiptoes space,
Spun wind round her waist like
Anna’s Eighty-eight.


pilferer of all the brave acquire.

Drinks last bits of sun out of me.

Creaks rafters of my heart.
Rises down to drown me –
the ocean that rises to fold over
deep furrows, pouring out

The whole pit of darkness into
the hole of all I have lost.

Gleaming waters
dance with morning sun.

I wait for him to do it all over


Uncle and Gold Round His Neck

Gone are days
he would sit like the sea
gold dripping from his neck

His heart hangs
like a seed
from the body of dandelion

In the belly of night he quivers
knuckles under
choked by a cold hand

Fix the twilit horizon warm
red and gilded
shiny and buffed

Seat him at the helm of a setting star
let him burn out into paradise
with gold round his neck

The Beast that Ate Bedwang

When I was a little boy
we had a rusty old car named Bedwang,
rooted to the corner yard
like grass Ali Sard left in his uncle’s backyard.

Someone said he was mine, and so
began my first love.
But whenever I took him for a spin, nowhere,
felt like a thief.

Woke up one morning
he was gone.

In his place grew fast a pigsty.
In it, grew fast a beastly hog
that fed on everything.

I had dreams
that it ate Bedwang.

and days
I waited
for it to be slaughtered.