She wakes up before dawn. Mounts

her cardboard cubicle on the pavement

at a street corner. It is chilly and windy.

 

Without delay she pours cooking oil

into the aluminum container perched

on a three-legged stand under which

there are popping flames.

 

In the yellow bowl she stirs the flour

with vigour. The fire is warming her up.

With her hands she squeezes the flour

into fist-sized lumps and drowns

them in the blistering oil.

 

Over a short space of time the hot

oil turns the floury swellings into brown

round magwinyas.

With her fork she pierces each fried brown

bun and shrugs it off into another vessel.

 

She yawns. The heat is soothing. It is coaxing.

She has to sell to eke out a living.

A single parent with four dependents.

 

Her mouth is agape, there is a cascade of saliva

going down her chin, down to where her vessel lies. The

sun is peeping. Her customers, school children

and factory workers halt, stare and walk away.

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