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Agape in New York*
by Gerard Rochford
On a snowman’s belly,
seen before only in books,
Slindile draws a map of the world:
Here’s New York and Africa is there,
where everyone is dying – fathers, mothers,
brothers, sisters, friends.
Her brown eyes are lost
in the past of her mother’s smile.
Weeks ago in her home,
Slindile washed and combed her hair
for the visit of a pop-star she’s shyly in love with;
then travelled with her choir to New York,
sang to the gold and diamond gliterazzi,
starred for a night with an American legend,
then flew back to the darkness, singing still.
I live in a home for beautiful children,
her face shines,
children with no parents.
Now she is sad.
I want to be a nurse.
Again she shines.
* We Are Together (Thina Simunye) is a documentary about the South African orphanage “Agape”. Children who live there lost their parents to AIDS. The children formed a choir. They visited New York in winter to raise money. Paul Simon sang unobtrusively with them.