• Vol. 07
  • Chapter 12
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Only one crop

It was harvest time
only this year, nothing had grown
no one knew why
fields like vast, bald scalps, one beyond the other
tractors still
rural sweatshops silent
stomachs hollowed out
borders long closed, no visible movement of people.

Rain was rare, just a few slivers of sunshine
where before the sky had always opened to the earth
like a generous lover.

Only one crop this year
planted from a cluster of tiny black seeds
like the cut tips of eyelashes
found in a blood-stained packet inside her dead mother’s pockets
amongst the charred remains of the camp
from which only she had escaped alive.

Running, open-mouthed and electric-eyed for days
the girl finally found refuge in the green depths of the eastern province
and there planted the seeds in the red chocolate earth of a clearing
making a bed for herself alongside it, soft and humid.

Swallowing the last seed herself, out of curiosity
with a quiet twist of the taste of her mother’s perfumed cooking on her tongue


Only one crop

she dropped immediately into sleep, emptied
daughter and mother crossing in endless dreams
they shared moments of brief, passionate intimacy
exhaling grief together.

She awoke three days later
her hair a mass of orange, turquoise and golden vegetation
entangling in growth with a mane of aromatic seedlings
sprouting fast from the earth around and beneath her body.

Clear, clean rain was finally falling; huge droplets, tinted silver
her life force was returning
she cut herself free

and life began anew.