THE CHILD DID NOT RETURN

the child did not return
from school down the road
the child was last seen
at ten in the morning
through a hole
in the rotten corrugated iron
another school child saw the child
slip into the pit latrine
desperately crying for help
raising the right-hand
falling face down
into the faeces

the child did not return
from an aimless walk
playing with an imaginary friend
in the cape flats
they went across the waste ground
but the ugly red-eyed ogre
on two human legs
thought it best to whisk
the child away

the child did not return
from the long journey
to find the baby mama
they alighted the train
at park station
the grand mother said
the child was here now now
the whereabouts of the child
are not known / tu / tu / tu
the child vanished
just like that

the child did not return
the child was no more
the heart was savagely ripped off
tears of the whole village
could not run dry
and the future of their children
was a big let down
flaking out in the sand
blowing in the wind
without the child

Jaki Seroke

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