All Day Rainbow Swirl

We had our shoes off and maybe this was a place where we were washing for gold, somewhat lost in the world.
       I see myself at my ease fifty years ago in this old photograph, and I have held on to a vial of gold dust – I don’t know where it is – and a ruby – a ruby crumb really. It is red.
       She had begged us – the woman in the picture – to take her along. Some would think her very beautiful – and she was with us for several months, but she did nothing to help us.
       Well, it was as if she was a child. There was this child angle to her that eliminated the possibility of considering her as a woman.
       Nonetheless, Theo and I agreed that if over time our feelings about her changed, that is – we would make sure to stay clear of being tempted. You just do it. We treated her like a younger sister. I did miss home.
       In this old photo nearly everything now is a shade of creamy pink.
       Did I have a moustache yet? I did! – and why sit in the water on the tree stump? It looks pointed, painful.
       The all-day candy rainbow swirl in my hand?
       Once you start with it, you’re stuck with it. The ants will climb over it if you put it down anywhere.
       You can dunk it in the sea.
       In Cape Town the wind was the highest. I was on my hands and my knees, so that I could not be blown over.
       I found a corner of a building to hold on to, the pitted surface to pin myself to.
       If I stay on this earth, I still feel screwed to the wall.


Pleasure of the Day

Before things fell apart, she had her first pleasure of the day.
       She asked for the number six please! – which was served up on a tin tray, layered with paper that catches and preserves the grilled treat’s grease and crumbs.
       If she could, she would eat her favourite food every minute of this day, or any other.
       A sudden hiccup in the voice of a crooner, whose piped-in song was playing, reminded her of the type of gulp-weeping she had often done as a child.
       But she was sanguine now in a region that has a lot to offer – what we used to think was unmissable.
       On this day she thought the steam from her hot drink made the air more lovely and she struck the sides of her shoes together in time to the music – her shoes that had not yet shed their sequined blossoms.
       Might she get another smile from the barista? – no open arms of course – but surely a further reminder of kindness.
       The even wider grin she received was well worth the cost of the cream horn.
       And thus, an ordinary citizen was indulged, plus her footwear features wide, bull-nosed toes and is comfortable, and the splits on the top permit air to circulate.
       Stop it all there.
       But no, she is posed wearing a dress she has outgrown, holding a crushed napkin and through the window she sees only a bad, old picture of things and trees, nowhere the delicacy and fineness of her swollen pastry.
       The world … yes, the world can look pretty shitty when you’ve finished eating the Plain Jane, or the Triple Threat, the Big Top, or the Baby Princess Louise.

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