Summer School

by Lise Day

(after Frank O’ Hara)

It is 16.29 in Pretoria a Tuesday
three days after Summer School began
It is 1976 and the green Audi
broke down on a long straight road
so I got here in a tow truck
and I don’t know how I will get home

I am going to lectures and studying
Mtshali’s Sounds of a Cowhide Drum
he is a Black Poet in White South Africa
cows watched where my car broke down
also The Flea by sexy John Donne
the lecturer wrote ‘fuck’ on the board
he saw nuns in the class in wimples
and wanted to get that out of the way.

I am staying with my husband’s bosses’ mother-in-law
in a flat on the top floor.
I get home at four and she asks me to buy a loaf of bread.
I take the lift.
I sit in a corner, sniff tears into my scarf, eat the bread
read Death of a Salesman which is in my handbag
because the lift is stuck.
I hear voices ‘Iemand sit vas in die hysbak’.
‘It’s not iemand it’s me’, I shout
and I need to pee and it’s after four o’clock in Pretoria
when everything stops working.


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