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An Act of Kindness
by Ellaraine Lockie

She is one of the women
who travels daily from her township
Singing in the back of a pick-up truck
with a chorus of others
Come to clean the rooms 
in my B & B bordering Kruger Park

She sees me walking a path
parallel to the Crocodile River
I see her running toward me
Watch her fall to her knees before me
Close the lowest five button holes
that fashion the front of my 
ankle-length straight skirt

She says something in Swati
Looks up at me as a lilac-blue blossom
drops from a jacaranda tree 
And under the kindness of shade
she pats my calves 

I can't interpret the words
but I can read her body language
There my dear
I've closed the open invitation
The accident that wrote itself
across your womanhood
I know this because here 
no woman would walk 
aware of bare thighs winking
between the weave of khaki

I help her up
Hold her hardened hands
Thank her by returning 
the sunshine of her smile
And waddle like a knobbellied duck
back to my room where I segregate 
the unbefitting skirt to a suitcase 


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