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My father cries when Miriam Makeba sings

My father cries when Miriam Makeba sings, “Benkuphi ma madoda.” “Soweto,” he weeps, “I still carry my stones. For Paul. For my tongue.”

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She found refuge here.

She found refuge here. The tea was hot and his words rivaled Gilead’s balm. But when despair bound him tight she had long forgot his name.

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I take with me these precious things

I take with me these precious things: a pair of jeans, my passport, and the viciousness of your disaffection punching a hole in my head.

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Beat

He sits on the porch, his cheek puffy with tobacco, his rheumy eyes ringed with the same shade of brown that brands his overalls. They think he has sat down to die. He spits. They think he forgot about the drums. His brother’s arms used to move like dragonfly wings above the skins, so fast [...]

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The tree has aged as much

The tree has aged as much as she has. The ackees, once vibrantly fleshy with sugar, now merely sigh open; an achy echo of itself.

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