POEM: Kerru!kwa

BY SUE WOODWARD

they say he is ‘Abel Rooi’
but he holds his name
like a warm stone, Kerru!kwa
Kerru!kwa from the Brinkkop
Kerru!kwa from the flat lands
Kerrukwa who runs with the springbok
and takes what he needs
takes what they say he may not

they bring him here to Breakwater*
to break rocks
to break
he hears the wind but it is not his wind
he sees the stars his friends
through the small window
and feels the touch of rats
and the wet beneath his feet

soon they will march him
to the water
they will chain him to their boat
he who cannot swim
he who is from the grass people
he who is afraid
he who must break the water
he, Kerru!kwa from the Brinkkop

*the Breakwater Convict Station

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