Everything Has Changed (Except Graves) By Mzi Mahola

I stood at the ruins
of my former school
where I was patiently moulded;
wild plants own every space now;
my soul was paralyzed.
What happened to the roofs
the doors and windows?
Can these dumb lonely walls
still recognise me?
Everything has changed;
the ground where we ran and laughed
and the corner of the playground
where I pummelled a schoolmate almost to pulp
are scarfed with wattle
to conceal my shame.
A short distance away
stands a renovated Church
(a Dutch Reformed formerly,
now Methodist)
embraced by a mute little cemetery
that claims the past
(the dividing fence has vanished)
though growth strangles it to near extinction;
cold names of departed whites
who were part of this community
and made monumental contributions
are etched on the headstones.
Sometimes whites come here
to clean and put flowers
on their family graves;
a voice whispers next to me
but I do not recognise its face
because Lushington has changed
except the graveyard.


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