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September 2008, vol 4 no 3

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Jamie Edgecombe



Surburban Kampala

First-light-hues reflect upon the bellies and dead eyes of tilapia from Lake Victoria. Gathering within its coolness, blood's sapor rises with the smoke from breakfast fires, burning garbage and the wet crunch of the street-butcher's block. Bicycles wobble by with the weight of green-banana bunches. Olive and ochre urbanity sprawls out upon the patulous hills, while distant high-rises protrude cumbersomely from the dusty exhaust cloud smothering the business district. Mother buys meat to make her boy strong--though would not think to have any herself. With her daughter she'll wait for Christmas.

Still within the city limits, neighbours' cattle lurch in search of pasture, as father appreciates the texture of chopped wood: sapless sinews that will burn without moisture. The mud from his adjacent plot still clings to his ankles, having mixed sand into the clay-like soil. Tomorrow morning, before going to his job, he'll repeat this ritual

bricks to be fired--
the colour of these
dawn-flushed hills

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