Rethabile Masilo

SIDI BOU SAÏD

It is quite possible that the model
threw her head back over the backrest
and made god take notice of her hair
tumbling behind with magenta flowers
spiked at unequal distances within it,
and the only thing left then was to add
heat and humidity to the centre, and
palm trees in the sea’s distance,
and young women and men basking
in the light of that first creation.
He then called it bougainvillea
in summer. The girl, the smell of brine,
penetrated his conscience so much
he hung the watercolour painting
at the edges of the world, in Jamaica,
and one in Sidi Bou Saïd, and another
in Peniche that he sprinkled with Port,
and Amanzimtoti and Encinitas, too.
And sex would exude that same smell.
He knew how men in his image
would worship these bright places
and make love in the shadows
of his judgment. To this day
a slow rhythm signifies the place,
and he put in it waves to pace
our days. And when the sun,
weary after spending itself lighting
the world, was about to lie down
and sleep, he thought he might add
a night lamp in the form of a moon
to float over the last, spilled strands
of that woman’s hair, which he asked
to dance in the evening’s fresh air.

Axé.

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