On the park bench I sit and watch the lovers stroll hand in hand.
The Hadedas sit on the lawns and squeal as though
Caesar’s been stabbed all over again.
I came here for silence.
I came to listen to the whisper of the grass blades and
To see the birds waltz mid-air in the skirts of the trees.
Someone has left a piece of the half eaten sandwich that Florence
Prepared with such dedication and pride but forgot to trim off the crust.
The Egyptian Geese don’t seem to care as they rugby tackle each other for it,
Making the ants that are feasting on it hold on for dear existence.
Behind me in the swampy reservoir I am sure I see a family of cane rats
That look as though they have stepped out of “Wind in the Willows”.
My face must tell a story as every stroller seems to study it closely
As they walk past.
Some smile at me and some look away as though I am about to ask
For some loose change from their pockets.
In the distance I hear giggles from school girls looking through some notebooks.
At 5 O’clock sharp, Nomsa and the three Scottish Terriers
Zoom right past me all panting as if trying to invent storm winds.
She is in her 80’s and her maids’ uniform could easily bind her three times over.
I feel like asking her to take my place on the bench so I can run with the dogs.
My voice remains caged in my throat.
I watch her pick up dog shit in a clear plastic back when “Skittie” lays a
Steamy, brown one on the lawn.
Then a mosquito stabs me on my ankle.
I have overstayed my welcome.
I pick up my plastic bags and cardboard and loose change from corner
Main and Chester Street to find my place near the bridge
At the railway line.
What a day I have had.
Ah, the life in a suburban park!
Quieter than a jungle but certainly not tame.
Frank Malaba © 2013