My Christmas duties

Is this where you live?
Is this your house?
Is this your home?
But this is no home …..where are the houses ….where is the family that makes a home
Where is the laughter and noise….that you wake up to

But your home is on the road….this is called a road reserve …. yes that brown contraption snaking it’s way across the ground and over the horizon is the road it will bring development

I see a yellow cross on the wall
Don’t you know they will come and bring down the house ?
Or perhaps they will not perhaps they will not notice that you live here the caterpillar and earth movers…
Do they use that too on such structures as yours…or perhaps the structure stands abandoned they will assume
For who could possibly live here

Is there anyone in this gloom….I see small windows on each side of this mud structure
I see the smoke that billows from the bowels of the brown mound.
Thick black smoke
It’s acrid smell sting my delicate eyes from far
The dust from the dusty road adjacent here rises and for a few minutes I don’t see the house

I cautiously move forward for I am sure I have seen the structure. It was here last Christmas
The roof is low hanging and i bend my head as I trace the door
A small wooden brown door
The hinges are separated from the frame
Sisal ropes hold the rickety frame in place
I knock on the door
It makes a hollow sound I strain to hear the response and there is none

I push the door and it creaks and groans and slowly give way

I peer into the gloom.
Is that you grandma? You must be the shadow I see in the gloom.
Is that your hearth ?
Is that where you make your morning meal
Do you not have the modern contraptions with which to make your meals….it’s called a stove or perhaps that may not have gotten here yet perhaps modernity will come with the brown snake they are making outside

But it’s dark grandma
Do you have no light do you not know of electricity do you not share the vision 2030?
Are you not part of the development agenda
Perhaps we open the window and bring in the light grandma?
Do you not have bay windows?
From where do you enjoy the beautiful sunset?
Where do you contemplate the world?
The smoke stings grandma
It bites my delicate eyes
It chokes me
Do you not cough grandma from this smoke. Have you not heard
This smoke is bad for your lungs….it may cause cancer or asthma
Perhaps we should have laws banning use of these contraptions
Perhaps a warning on your door that smoke kills
That should exenerote the government should you die

I see your eyes in the gloom
In the light from the glowing embers
Are those tears grandma?
Do you weep at the smoke or for the smoke that rises up taking your very humanity with it
Or perhaps the smoke makes you weep
Perhaps the sting bites your eyes too
Is that your bed on the corner
The tattered rags?
Does the ground not pinch you through those tatters
Have you not heard of orthopaedic matresses
Do you not have a back grandma
Do you not suffer from low back pain?
You must get one of those mattress grandma
They contour to your back

Its dark in here
Do you dream when you lie on that bed
Do you dream in colour or are your dreams as dark as this your house
How does your heaven look like
Is it lined with gold and silver
Or is there a lot of dirt and rumblings of the earth movers in the distance
I see there is no where to sit
No where to place my snakeskin bag
Dust is not good for it grandma

Shall you hold it up for me grandma
I want to give you your perfunctory 1000bob my family duty for the year

I seek leave now grandma
I must head back to the city
I must go back to build the nation
I hope I shall find you here next Christmas?
When I do my familial duties and visit with you again
Perhaps the earthmover will have missed this brown mound
Maybe you will be safe maybe not
But I must leave
The country needs me.



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