Frank Meintjies

Rookie - 120 Points (Rietvlei, South Africa)

Return Station - Poem by Frank Meintjies

(my homecoming)

you get off the train
step into a griminess
familiar as a favorite shoe & the aroma of home food
old tastes and wistfulness

your brother's eye injured
medallion to schoolboy games
cowboys don't harp on about un-salved bitterness
about games of pain, about the operating theatre
or accidents without gestures of regret

your nephew has sprouted
like the sou-sou plant
in rainy times
out-towering his dad, he leans
against the coach of the hissing train
arms crumpled into a fold of casualness
no big deal about a big green tattoo

your granny's died, she's gone
over cliffs, through fields and into misty lanes
beyond touch
the last knotting of the handkerchief
to safekeep rands she still called pounds
why didn't anyone tell you
she died; on the dusty station paving
you clench fingers, trying to clutch her apron

you have now alighted, the family chatter
all too familiar
the comments generous, politely affirming
as their eyes measure
your new height
you wonder if your hair, clothes & language
reek of college, of big town, of being 'away'
in their eyes a pleading that
beyond new surfaces
the grain is never lost
here in the ripple of familiarity
you wonder if anyone can see
the deep scorings, the cuts of change
the new shape of words
a child's turning with the times

Topic(s) of this poem: change, growing up

Form: Free Verse

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Poem Submitted: Sunday, September 20, 2015

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