Naked save for hat and boots
Piet Uys the panner
Squats bent, bone thin
Each vertebra salient
Under leathered skin
The colour of mopani heart.

His shoulders, forearms roll
With the swirling pan
Tilted edgewise to slop
Muddied water back
To a sandy pool
Mined in a dying river.

A sudden grunt, spine arching
He holds it up sunwise
Between thumb and finger
Sights through the abraded glister coat
Cries out, Bliksem.
Finally, a diamond, the very first.



Photo by Justin Dickey