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This poem is taken from PN Review 118, Volume 24 Number 2, November - December 1997.

Six Poems Alan Ross

Cape Gooseberries

A sly, surreptitious taste that dries
In the mouth, dust overtaken
By a sourness turning sweet
Their leaves are papery, scrotal.

A guest at Simonstown naval base
In the Cape I first tasted them
The day my old shipmate
Began his sentence. Robben Island
In the distance, Table Mountain under cloud.

I remember only the fruits' acidity,
Their sweetness excised.

Through the porthole I watched
Stout Boer policemen chasing Coloureds
With a stick. They eluded them,
Slithering like eels, then diving
...


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