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Winner, Chapter One Promotions Open Poetry Competition, 2005 (link)

 

 

Still Waiting

 

Christmas came to Chililabombwe,

a misdirected card; Scrooge and frost

delivered to the wrong continent.

 

In the fan-cooled haven of the school reception,

a bosomy secretary, head shaved of lice,

spooned excretions from the playground’s termite mound.

A red paste pile—

African caviar posed in a napkin.

        

Close by a mother and I seemed uneasy.

She slid one ebony gloss shin

over the other like a deaf cricket.

 

She was lost for good words.

Whatever she said it would sound stupid, she knew,

but she would say it anyway — fish eyed

like the kapenta threaded with small bones

that she could afford on Fridays.

 

“It was that saint man what was he called

Saint Claws? Santo Claws?

You know  he’s the one that goes down the chimneys.”

 

Chimneys? Every year, white bearded and hot

he would visit the school, waving,

his costume the same flame tree hue as the fire engine,

from which he hung in the sun of blue heat,

banana, jacaranda and rattling black seedpods.

        

“But on that Christmas night, he goes to the other kids

always to the other kids.

For each of my boy’s eight years we waited.

We listened for the Santo Claws bells,

but only heard the crickets and frogs of Africa.”

  

 

Graham Burchell

 

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poetry favourites:
Chester and the Green Pig Blog;
Published Authors;
Words-Myth

and in the shop ...
collections -
"Vermeer's Corner",
Foothills Publishing;

"Ladies of Divided Twins",
Erbacce Press

 


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