In Afrikaans, the word ‘vertrek’ means both room and departure.



Today it is nine years since I moved from South Africa to Portugal.

9 ~ an imperfect circle, unspooling.

8 years

Today, it’s been eight years since I’ve moved from South Africa to Portugal.
I don’t quite know what to make of that number –

such a wobbly figure, and if it falls over, it’s an eternity.

(If made to stand again, it’s an empty hourglass.)

Two small globes, one on top of the other: my world here; my world there.
The O of surprise and the O of sighing that mark a migrant life.
A precarious balance, sliding mercurial balls holding each other in tension.
But holding each other, still.

And so I hold on too,

the ones I love on both sides,

the endless longing,

the story of two rings and two adventurous hearts

kept and woven into 8’s cross-armed embrace.