Grazing in a Ghetto

by Ivor Griffiths

When I tiptoed across the last green patch of ground in the hazy shanty town of Algerburda, just outside Cape Town, I saw smoke from burning tractor tires; the whole place stank of burning rubber, burnt flesh and sewage. Shacks swiftly disappeared before bulldozers; former residents reluctantly shouldered meager possessions onto their backs trying to control broods of kids who scampered, through half demolished shacks, giggling and squealing. I remember seeing a man; head burnt to a nub of cinder ash: the tire still smoldered and rubber dribbled onto his legs and feet. His arms scorched to points, hanging down like blackened stalactites. The kids poked his eye sockets with sticks. I saw his wedding ring, the gold dulled by soot; I chased the kids and took it; then tiptoed on through clouds of flies that hummed so loud I could hear it above the clatter of engines and shouting.


Ivor Griffiths writes poetry and short stories, and is working on a novel. He also has a blog.