The poem was read aloud. Children were everywhere, with balloons and puppies and birthday cake. It was the end of the afternoon and there was lots of sugar-rush and some end-of-the-party tears. All the sounds mingled among the words of the poem and then floated off with the balloons across the city.
Away from the party, and not involved with it at all, sat a young woman writing in her moleskine. Her posture told of passion and longing. Down in Longmarket Street, a man thought he saw love in the air and stopped to gaze at clouds.
watches you dress, laughing
at you standing before the mirror
in clean socks, crazy underpants
and ironed shirt;
adores you putting on shined shoes;
smooths your shampooed hair;
kisses your face, feeling
its shaved softness even softer
against her lips;
and then the smooth scent of your neck
ahead of her cheek against your chest?
Who makes your scrubbed flesh her fingers’
playground as up and down groin and thigh they slide,
tracking the grooves beside?
Who holds you at night in soap-smelling sheets,
and the following day prays you safely home?
Who greets you with interesting or funny tales?
Who hungrily inhales
your day’s perspiration?
Ethelwyn Rebelo is one of the formidable poets featured in the anthology Africa! My Africa! She works as a psychologist at Chris Hani Baragwanath Academic Hospital. Who was first published in Carapace 61.
African Sun Press in Cape Town would like to sell 5 000 copies of Africa! My Africa! and use the proceeds to launch Seed Readers, which will develop excellent literature for children in need of story books. From the estimated seven billion people in the world, we are inviting a comparative mere handful of those who love poetry.
If you would like to order a copy, please email firstname.lastname@example.org .
☺ The owners of Deerpark Café, Karin Louw & Roger van Wyk bought two copies, one for a school library and one for themselves.