“Main Road, Cape Town” by Kerry Hammerton

Last month Mr Samsodien sat
behind the hand-painted letters on his window:
All Manner of Repairs
neat black with white trim—
hand stitching  leather goods.
Outside plaster peeled from the wall
exposing brick and wooden beams.
He closed on Friday at 12
to attend prayers.

This month the building has been smoothed,
painted grey with white trim,
blinds cover the windows.
Mr Samsodien’s All Manner of Repairs,
Nnema’s Kitchen
and Gisela’s Hair Salon
have been usurped
by Lawlers: Attorneys and Conveyancers.

In the next block The Spirit of Truth church
still sings hymns, and prays from plastic chairs.
The green robed pastor shouts for sinners to repent.
Next door HeavensGate offers
movie rentals and unisex haircuts
and shares its front door
with Taj Mahal Halaal Foods.

GrowGreen Upcycled Gardening,
and an Artisanal Coffee shop
have replaced The Busy Corner Internet Café
and Jabu Africa Shoes.
The building now
deep red, trimmed in white.

The old iron works is scheduled for development:
retail, parking and apartments;
but in a side road children still play
soccer in the street,
and on Main Road taxis hoot
and gaatjies lean out of the window shouting:
Kaap! Kaap!

Kerry Hammerton holds an MA in Creative Writing (with Distinction) from Rhodes University. She has published poetry in various South African and international literary journals and anthologies—most recently Hallelujah for 50ft Women (Bloodaxe Books: 2015). Kerry has two poetry collections These are the lies I told you (Modjaji 2010) and The Weather Report (2014). Her short story “Spider Woman” was published in the Short Sharp Stories 2017 anthology Trade Secretswww.kerryhammerton.com

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