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Horror on the Highway
When we were small life sure was rough and maybe that’s what made us tough.
We’d walk and trudge and run and play to school and back, day after day.
We never missed a day, you know; come rain or shine, to school we’d go.
We weathered frightening storm and gale, lightning and thunder, even hail!
In winter biting frost and breeze would make us shiver and make us sneeze.
You want to grow up ignorant?
You want to be a farmer’s boy?
Perhaps some unknown boss’s toy?
We want the best for you, dear child!
We will not see you grow up wild!
It’s hard, we know, but that will pass –
Humility makes you the baas.
At home time we had lots of fun, once ’cross the National Road we’d run.
We’d jog and sing and shout and jest; tell jokes, see who could tell the best.
Midway home fatigued we’d stall – the young ones now’d be at a crawl.
Woe to us all That Dreadful Day, etched in our mem'ries like hard baked clay...
WHOOSH, went the red car - a streak on the road…
KA-BANG! went the bottle - we heard it explode.
A wicked sliver wedged up high in little Vuyo's skinny thigh.
She filled the air with her distress. Transfixed, we watched her reddening dress.
Then, galvanised, I screamed with fear, ‘Sipho… home! Bring Mama here!”
I held her to me oh so tight, held back my tears with all my might.
When Mama's feet came into view an hour had passed or maybe two.
Off Mama trot at a steady pace a stricken look upon her face.
Vuyo clutched to her throbbing breast, she heaved for air to her tortured chest.
We got to the clinic at last but knew for Vuyo life was long since through.
They put our girl in a backroom hold, toe-tagged and left on a slab so cold.
We put our girl in a hole in the ground. On top of her a painful mound.
Who will ever forget The Day that thoughtless travellers passed our way?
 South African term for 'boss'.
Natisha Parsons was born in the former Transkei, the eldest of seven. A
retired teacher, her favourite hobbies are reading, writing and Sudoku. She
has a short story, Granny for Tea, published by Fanele. "Love and Revolution",
"On the Way Home", and "Happy Anniversary" were recognized by the South
African Writers College. Africa Book Club awarded her a prize. "The Nature
of the Beast" won First Place in India Poetry Contest #1 from India Poetry
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Previously published in South Africa Poetry Magazine:
This is the first poem published in this magazine.
Published June 8, 2020
Poets of South Africa Contest #1 - First Place
Horror on the Highway
by Natisha Parsons
(Edenvale, Gauteng, South Africa)
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