By holding my mirror out of the window I see
Clear to the end of the passage
There’s a person down there.
A prisoner polishing a doorhandle.
In the mirror I see him see
My face in the mirror,
I see the fingertips of his free hand
Bunch together, as if to make
An object the size of a badge
Which travels up to his forehead
The place of an imaginary cap.
(This means: A warder.)
Two fingers are extended in a vee
And wiggle like two antennae.
(He’s being watched.)
A finger of his free hand makes a watch-hand’s arc
On the wrist of his polishing arm without
Disrupting the slow-slow rhythm of his work.
(Later. Maybe, later we can speak.)
Hey! Wat maakjy daar?
— a voice from around the corner.
No. Just polishing baas.
He turns his back to me, now watch
His free hand, the talkative one,
Slips quietly behind
— Strength brother, it says,
In my mirror,
A black fist.

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