Chapter One Promotions Open Poetry Competition, 2005 (link)
Christmas came to
misdirected card; Scrooge and frost
to the wrong continent.
the fan-cooled haven of the school reception,
bosomy secretary, head shaved of lice,
excretions from the playground’s termite mound.
red paste pile—
caviar posed in a napkin.
by a mother and I seemed uneasy.
slid one ebony gloss shin
the other like a deaf cricket.
was lost for good words.
she said it would sound stupid, she knew,
she would say it anyway — fish eyed
the kapenta threaded with small bones
she could afford on Fridays.
was that saint man what was he called
Claws? Santo Claws?
know — he’s the one that goes down the chimneys.”
Every year, white bearded and hot
would visit the school, waving,
costume the same flame tree hue as the fire engine,
which he hung in the sun of blue heat,
jacaranda and rattling black seedpods.
on that Christmas night, he goes to the other kids —
to the other kids.
each of my boy’s eight years we waited.
listened for the Santo Claws bells,
only heard the crickets and frogs of Africa.”