Wednesday 12 May 2021

Antjie Krog: 'transparant van die tongvis'


transparency of the flatfish



the light above my writing desk

spreads out into the dark

i invite my visitors in on paper


my four children

dorsally and anally finely balanced

small throat fins constantly in motion

eyes exceptionally soft


in the shallow stagnant water Ma is wrestling

with the metaphors


come closer here above the dictionaries and empty pages

oh how fond i am of this gentle small school

these four nimble fishes of mine

enticed closer what shall i feed you?


dearest child let your slim small flank

descend to the sea-bed

over in that direction so yes it

pinches a bit but Ma’s holding you tight Ma

is here 


the underside eye amazingly blue like your Pa’s

cautiously migrates with a complex cluster

of nerves and muscles

to the top alongside the other

your jaunty small mouth that’s almost askew

but in time your tongue will find its own place

the upper flank’s pigment already darkening


you lie inconspicuously among sand and rocks

a part of the sea-bed and never

rapacious again or in flight

i press my mouth against each little twisted face

Ma knows


you all will survive the tide

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