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When slivers of old wallpaper resurface

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white afrikaner children vehemently dragged
into a new south africa by fearful teachers
shoved inside deshelled and freshly hollowed out classrooms

I notice a barren patch on the wall framed by years of lethargic dust
time’s somnolent imprint forged

around the absence of a once familiar object

this dusty lesion is the remnant of our government’s photograph
below the patch I see our country’s flag unhinged, now crumpled and heaped
a wounded soldier bleeding orange, white & blue onto the polished floor

these classrooms were once meant for whites only
now skinned from arts & crafts and remnants of an old country
familiar spaces quickly altered into cold rehabilitation halls

we did not understand it back then
but to become something else, to shatter invisible chains
our bones first had to be broken, then remade

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