Gert Strydom (03 April 1964 / Johannesburg, South Africa)
A bottle of wolf’s poison
At dusk little Martha walks
pass the back of the old house
that is build of heaped blue Jacob stone
and her older sister who has to watch her
is a distance away in the orchard
where she is catching small gnats
with shouts of joy.
The sun glows orange red
on the horizon and the rays hits
a brown bottle that protrudes
from one of the cracks of the Jacob rocks
and at a distance
it looks to three-year-old Martha
like her mother’s kitchen knife
and quickly she walks closer
on her little feet
and she tries to take it, but it is stuck tight.
With a long stick
she digs the bottle out,
bites it open with her small teeth
and there’s pink liquid
that flows down her throat.
Still she wonders
what this bottle is doing here
and goes round the corner
into the kitchen
where she finds her mother
and gives the bottle to her.
Her mother turns white from fright
as it is wolf’s poison
and deadly strong
and her shout is so loud
that three of Martha’s older brothers
run in from the outside.
“Go and milk one of the cows
and bring some more milk, hurry”
is said to Pieter
and she takes a bucket of milk
from the pantry
and pour some in a glass for Martha to drink
while Pieter runs
as fast as he can to the stable.
“Drink sis drink, ” Martha is begged
and glass after glass is given to her
until she starts to vomit
and still they beg her to drink
while they pour some more glasses of milk
and the pink poison
comes out with the vomit
and Pieter brings some more
fresh hot milk
and pours the jug out
and Martha shakes and cries
and they beg her to drink
and still more is poured into glasses
and she drinks
until she vomits the entire poison out.
[Reference: Wolf’s poison is strychnine.]
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