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April 2019 Vol. 15 No. 1

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Matthew Caretti

Johannesburg: A Reprise

out the car window
grasping at clouds
the orphan boy

Even unplanned, it is good to leave the children’s center. All work and no play. Eyes weary from the monitor. From the too long hours. I rest them now on the passing scenes. The agrarian and the impoverished of the Free State. Mind the reaction of the sick boy.

grain silos
too much bustle
at the bottle shop

We cross into Gauteng. Traffic thickens. The day wanes. But the boy seems to strengthen. Sits up a bit straighter in his seat.

soweto highway
in the roadside heaps
a hint of gold

Then into it. The modern shopping malls. Footpaths leading away from them. Toward shanties. Somewhere in between terraced pubs transfigured oddly into megachurches. The boy spies a cross. Smiles.

black smoke rising
into ibis wings

Spring has arrived here. Around the burning rubbish heaps, a squatters’ camp. Thin plastic tarps rustle around scavenged timber. A dark bottle passes hand to hand. The boy frowns and turns away. Looks for somewhere else.

weaver’s nest
out of some darkness
the sky