The Ofi Press Magazine

International Poetry and Literature from Mexico City

1 Poem Published

By Rustum Kozain, South Africa (Published in Issue 17)



Rustum Kozain was born in 1966, in Paarl, South Africa. Studied for several years at the University of Cape Town; spent ten months (1994-1995) in the United States of America on a Fulbright Scholarship. Returned to South Africa and lectured in the Department of English at UCT from 1998 to 2004, teaching in the fields of literature, film, and popular culture.

Poetry published in local and international journals; debut volume, This Carting Life, published in 2005 (Kwela/Snailpress). He has won several awards for his work.


And when you saw the silent night

descend along some snowbound

somewhere – a plot of mid-west,

and underneath


the turned sods caked, that wait

for spring, for summer, divining

corn and soya – you came first

to the terror of that vowel,


that ‘I’ withdrawn from exclamation,

the inward crawl,

the broil of bourbon in the veins

and thin grey poplars


as if the stand was drawn

by frail and ageing hands

in lonely charcoal:

a smirch, an instant fading.