“A Dog’s Life”

A diseased puppy limps
through a dusty township,
more mange than fur.
It will not last the week.
What hope for dogs
when people are left out,
swallowed by the night,
smoked and smothered,
no more than stompies
in a country unmoved
by puppies’ pleading eyes.

There is a dying tree
on the road back home,
choked by a creeper
crawling up its trunk
like politics covers us,
so that we cannot breathe
beneath race’s bark,
cannot simply be
before we are strangled
by a past that grows
into our grim future.

It’s strangely beautiful
and strangely sad;
that choked-up tree
in this strange place,
where life feeds on life
to go on living
and the monstrous
is all around.
And I hate it
and I love it
and I can never leave.

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