Poetry / Poets / Writers / Writing

Tango in Johannesburg by Sy Roth

Afloat on a raft of memories
Then hefted onto a high-backed throne.
Short poof of air as he was adjusted,
Pushed to his left to set him upright.

Another brief poof of the oxygen mask
Removed, lips glued in amused grimace
A defense against protestation.
Schweshwe silk shirt, Dashiki-buttoned severely at neck and wrist.

Obsequious sycophants assemble.
One sits beside him
Stares at the lingering oxygen-mask indentations
That snake across his freckled face,
A temporality testament.
He strokes the last tango wrist
Comforted by his own permanence.

A Mount Rushmore head smiles at the cameras
Memory resting in his last cell.
While the benighted souls relish being in his presence.
Later purelled to cleanse the skin of death.

Done, they heft him once again
Out of range
Buried beneath hillocks of homilies and encomiums,
Until the pages of the earth
Lay claim to him.


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