Kobus Moolman

Outline of an Apology #1

The veld was dry and dusty.

It smelled of cooking.

A feather of smoke behind the hill.

The morning after.

Far away.

As he came round the corner the whole valley.

Burning cane.

Lay black before him

The grass all white. Brittle. Brittle as glass.

It smelled of burned milk.

And she thought.

Milk that had boiled over on the stove.

Something about the whole scene made her think.

And burned.

That he had come home.

Which she had to scrape off.

That he was back.

All black and sticky from around his eyes.

Again. And she did not.

No, no, no, no.

Have a bed for him.

Don’t go away.
She did not.


Have a toothbrush. Towel. Extra cup. Plate. Knife. And fork.

We can share.

Pillow for his head.

You can share with me.

No, no, no, no.

It’s no trouble.

I’ll be fine. He said. I don’t need much.

There is enough air in my dreams.

Just a rock to shelter behind.

Enough for both of us.

Just a stone to lay my head upon.


The night is my companion.

There is always a draught in the night.

We have always been good to each other.

There are always the voices of everyone who ever walked past.

And all the time she thought to herself: Yes, yes, yes. This is where. This is where I want my love to be buried one day. When it all finally stops.


Kobus Moolman was born in 1964 in Pietermaritzburg. He is an Associate Professor of Creative Writing at the University of the Western Cape. He holds a PhD in English Studies from the University of KwaZulu-Natal.

Among many platitudes, he is the recipient of the 2015 Glenna Luscehi Prize for African Poetry for his collection A Book of Rooms (deep south).