MANDELA

Mandela&Graca.jpg
  • In his eighth decade he stands here free,
  • emerged from the caged years, from
  • the unintended monastery where reckless
  • fire became the molten gold radiating now
  • in his gaze, his voice, in the hand
  • that holds Graca’s as he turns to
  • leave the room, still guarded by
  • blond Afrikaaners, surrounding
  • him, glaring menace at the eager
  • crowd, pressing against us to
  • clear his way to wherever he wishes
  • to be. A searing flash from a
  • contraband camera and the white
  • phalanx springs closer to him, arms
  • raised—to protect. “No flash! No flash!”
  • they shout. “It hurts his eyes.”
  • They are gone.
  • Mandela, his love,
  • his white guards
  • and any certainty
  • we may have had
  • that time brings only loss.
  • (Photo taken by the author. Without flash.)