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Graham Mort




The Western Cape


Buzzards spaced on telegraph posts every half-mile, staring

          at heat rising from dunes where drought is sucking moisture from


the fynbos. Sunday. I’m driving south from Paternoster

          where I walked the beach in mist and a guy followed me waving


crayfish to buy. The tide left mussels gaping in foam, bladder

           wrack, plastic waste, a lost takkie still laced. Waves came onto


granite boulders, dead level, calm as the Holy Ghost

           then swirled back, polishing the sand. The sea left these dunes


for wind to sift. Jackal buzzards stare at them, graphite backed

           rufous breasted. One spreads the white aura of its wings, beautiful


with self-adoration, as killers are. My water bottle’s out of

           reach, bouncing in the footwell, the hulk of Table Mountain in


the south, the fin of Devil’s Peak ocean bound. The road ahead

           wavers in heat. I remember a beached blue boat at Paternoster


moisture in my hair, grey waves carrying their sting of South

           Atlantic salt and ice. Tarred poles suppurate in heat, their harped


wires shriek and the buzzards listen in. I pull up and a bakkie

           overtakes, tilting on the camber. Then the poles trek inland and


those hawks are gone. I step out and the white noise we

           call silence washes towards me from the sea or the universe.


For a moment I hear nothing. Then thermals roaring, a

           furnace of air, prayers chanted from an iron-roofed kirk, these


           worlds of sand slipping underfoot, these worlds of sand.




Devorah Baum

A. C. Grayling

Rebecca Priestley

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