There is a road to Mavele
in South Africa.
We fill the taxi
and cram in cheek by jowl
like the fruit in the bags we carry.
We watch each other,
smell each other’s sweat
and the dust comes in.

There is a road to Mavele,
just out of Tzaneen.
The driver brakes and turns,
slips and slides,
and we hold on
through the dips of soft potholes
and the dust comes in.

Oh Mavele
where young girls fight danger,
hunger, TB, HIV, and fear itself.
Grip hard
for life’s sake !
And the dust comes in.

Oh Mavele
your Tsonga and Sotho songs
are quieted.
And the kids hang about
’cause the teacher’s on strike.
Water is carried like gold
and the dust comes in.

They are making a new road
just beside Mavele.
The trucks bring gravel and tar.
They rumble all day.
It may go past Mavele.
New South Africa?
The dust comes in.

There is a child in Mavele,
who fashions a rolling toy
from old wire and odd wheels.
He smiles and watches,
dreams and schemes.
He is the new South Africa.
He will not bypass Mavele
where the dust comes in.

© Sharonne Price June 07

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