POEM: Winter Karoo Evening

BY CRAIG O’FLAHERTY

The dust road ahead
cuts dead straight
through the stony
semi-desert folds,
as if someone’s drawn it
from above.
To one side I see a
a small lit plaas window
winking in the darkness,
emboldened by the whistle
of a burnt kettle
sitting on its blue
ring of fire,
calling out into
the starlit cold.

POEMS: Love Lessons From the Kitchen

BY SAALEHA IDREES BAMJEE

Turmeric persistence.
The tenacity from garlic skin
but never the vengeance of chilli haunting fingers.

Beets teach passion.
For tenderness, heat low, go slow.
Taste after each addition.

Onions soften in hot oil. This is one way to build a foundation.
If you’ve over-salted, add extra potatoes for compromise.

When the toffee looks like it’s failing,
stir and stir and stir.
It will all come together.

POEM: Slip Top

BY KHANYA MTSHALI

I saw a woman drop a briefcase holding her life together
She hissed at the contents on the floor
Wished they would pick themselves up
And return to where they belonged.
The floor broke itself open,
swallowed the briefcase whole.
The woman collapsed
so the floor could caress her body.
She turned on her belly
Clicked her back
Banged her head
And waited for the floor to disappear.

POEM: in case you were keeping score

BY DINIKA GOVENDER

one
suitcase lies on the bedroom floor, still packed from a trip a year ago.
it now operates as a wardrobe
where contingencies are stored

two
the degrees of separation from the me that I could be
to the me that I must be
– with the me we think I must be getting in the way

three
the number of potential mistakes I met whilst waiting for a double on the rocks
– which is also where you’d find the relationship between my thoughts and actions of late.
on the rocks

four
pieces to make a whole secret-recipe chicken, as well as the size of a perfect family
– except when it splits
and four walls become eight and one pillow becomes two

five
the repayment, in days, on a loan called Weekend that everyone must pay,
save for those who don’t – who are untitled and entitled
or quite simply won’t

six
– of one, half a dozen of the other is what he says
when two things are the same
but actually when two things are inconsequential to him

seven
the number of months it’s taken me to undress myself
of bleached dreams
and spandex goals

eight
the kilometres I can run before my lungs start to burn and my eyes begin to sting
– not from the cold air
– but from trying to run forward in time

nine
the age of our umbilical cords before they got cut
and no one really told us what happened to them
– so we grew up in search of a lifeline

ten
the list i am trained to top
along with nine other kids who also work hard and obey rules
– and isn’t it a fine way of pigeon-holing the rest as fools

eleven
the perfect hour of every day when we can do anything, or nothing at all,
and no one should notice
because we stop measuring at ten – in case you were keeping score