“First Weekend” by Christine Coates

First Weekend

That night by the lake
remember how we talked in your old green Morris
how the stars watched us fall?
Sitting in the back I wanted to know cars and rain.

That first night in Elgin
under eaves and red quilts,
in the morning opening the window
to mist and apple orchards.

That drive to Hermanus,
how we stood on the sea wall, me in fake fur and boots,
you taking photographs.
Were whales watching us then?

The tea and sandwiches at the Princess Cafe,
the jukebox playing “Die Tantes van Nantes,”
you selecting Simon and Garfunkel’s
“Bridge over Troubled Waters.”

Now I see how you were
the bridge I crossed,
the pier that shored,
that harboured me.


Christine Coates is a poet and writer from Cape Town. She has an MA in Creative Writing from the University of Cape Town. She has an interest in life-writing or memoir, and the recovery of personal history through public and private imagery. She has undertaken the 800km pilgrimage across Spain, on the Camino de Compostela, and written an account of it. Her stories and poems have been published in various literary journals. Her poems were selected for the EU Sol Plaatje Poetry anthologies 2011–2015, and Best “New” African Poets 2015 Anthology. Her debut collection, Homegrown, published in 2014 by Modjaji Books, received an honourable mention from the Glenna Luschei Prize. Her short stories have been highly commended; “The Cat’s Wife” in Adults Only, the Short.Sharp.Stories anthology 2014, and “How We Look Now” in Water, the Short Story Day Africa anthology 2015. She recently participated in the inaugural Rutanang Book Fair in Potchefstroom.

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