image source:

The gift

He brought me tadpoles in a jar.
They were crowded and slimy,
shimmying against each other
In the scummy pond water.

He tried to fish for them with his fingers,
Tried to pull them out squirming
and struggling,
So I could see them more clearly.

He tightened the lid;
There were no holes in it.

Each small form floated to the surface,
Almost like they were trying to escape
Their watery grave.

He shrugged as he poured the immobile
Bodies down the outside drain.

I’ll just go get some more, he said.

Kamcilla Pillay is a former journalist who has travelled locally and abroad
extensively covering science, environmental and development issues. She
lives in Durban, KwaZulu-Natal and now teaches high school English.

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