Muti

by Pam Newham

He’s on his haunches at the ocean’s edge.
In front of him two flat square bottles
lie on the pallid sand.
Dreadlocks hang heavy on his red shirt.
The waves drench his rolled-up trousers.
Slowly, he circles his hands over the bottles
and when they are filled he begins to chant,
raising his voice above the loudness of the surf.

Later, when I ask the grey-haired pharmacist
in her crisp white coat
if an unpronounceable drug
has a generic,
I think of him.

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Indigenous

by Lise Day

Flaunting scarlet petticoats
brash on street corners
hanging from pub window-boxes
soliciting the passing eye
bastard geraniums
shocking
their pelargonium forebears

Haughty blue-blooded
fostering ties with royalty
gold medal winner
denying their origins
on the shaded banks
of the turbulent Renoster Rivier
the rampant agapanthus

I want to acknowledge
the discrete self of me
cast off my hybrid petals
recognise my ancestral genes
sprout errant branches
free from the topiary
true to my wild roots.