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Visit the active LitNet platform at www.litnet.co.za

Nuwe skryfwerk | New writing > Fiksie | Fiction > English > Published authors

You stroked my face

Sarah Frost - 2009-05-14

Remember Father, how here the sky at night falls smokily down,
a humid cloth of cloud settling over the city bowl,
reflecting the orange of the harbour lights?

In the garden on the hill, a fruit bat swoops into branches,
quick as a heartbeat,
elusive as an unanswered question.

There in the dark, we say goodbye, and the man I want more than I can say
kisses my face on both sides,
his stubble a near-absent graze against my cheek.

The stranger drives into the unknown, while, indoors,
I listen to the insistent repeat of tree frogs, and lay my restless son down to sleep.
My fingers stroke love across his face.

I recollect the way you, my father, traced my forehead so,
when I was a child, with tenderness,
as when you held me during storms.

The smart of tears prickling like dry grass against a bare foot
for what came later, for what you did not do,
for the leaving, and the staying away.