matt's notebook

Part 3 - Loaves and fishes

Sabonaan' bantabami (Hello my children)

2. Caba

Dr, who this morning pronounced two men dead
from stab wounds to the heart,
who this afternoon lanced a bus driver's boil on the roadside
with a biro dipped in whiskey,
Dr who cooks his chosen sons and daughters
steak and gin supper on Thursdays,
strips to his underpants.
'Araucaria araucana – where the bamboo was,
Heliconia stricta Huber – there,
Strelitzia nicolai – between me and the neighbours'

Dr steps into his sandals.
Dr steps into the rain.
Dr takes up his trowel to plant his monkey-puzzle tree,
thinks God's garden never got so good.

Rain drips from his eyebrows.
He addresses his household on the stoep,
'Promise, will you take a nap,'
'Hopeful, will you take your medicine,'
'Lekker, will you take these amagceba off my hands.'

Rain drips from his eyebrows,
each drop a sponge soaked with the Dr's orders.

Lekker, on his haunches, spells out a line of wildepiesang.
Lekker prints his lettered fingers on the ground,
Lekker writes down the roots with his thumbs.
Lekker reads the leaf mould,
a musk softer than his given skin's rain-given lustre,
thinks perfume of beforehand.

Rain brims over his chin.
His tattoos speak in tongues.
'This black rose the day I joined the Navy.
This burning bird the day I smoked opium.
This blue lizard the day I stopped.'

Rain brims over his chin,
each drop a universe of roses, birds, lizards, leaves, earth.

Matthew John Williams
Draft 3 -July 2003

*Caba - Zulu ideogram meaning to be flat or smooth, of falling gently, of comfort