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Friday 5 August 2011


The moon inflating was a taupe balloon
she'd thought in dream,
forgetting she'd not slept.


And not the moon, but
daughter Marza's, stomach.
She'd watched the dry earth swallow it, seen,
how as it slowly sank beneath a mimicry of waves,
it gently rolled as if a small boat had capsized.

No ripples broke the surface,
no bubbles from those trapped beneath.
And nothing grew,
no green shoots marked the grave.

Only the dust remembered it
where scratches in the dust were epitaph.

And then the belly reappeared,
surfaced like a corpse at sea,
as if the waves had spurned her final gift.
One corpse too many for its store.

But not the whole corpse. As before,
that empty part of her , that part
wherein her body's emptiness
had been most keenly felt, the still inflating,
slightly bouncing belly.

Emblazoned on it, clear as day:
half her daughter's face.
Deflating rapidly,
the belly
in its shrunkenness,
its creases and its crevises,
took on images
only to scrunch and then discard them.
Fleetingly she saw, but did not recognise,
a map of Africa.

Each image was to her
another stunted bush, more scrub,
more shrivelled leaves
from gum and galool tree.

Still, something stilled inside her,
clearly said it was an omen.
Good or bad, she did not know, but she was glad.
It made her daughter more significant, somehow.


Hannah Stephenson said...

Ghostly and very intriguing. I can't untangle this one--still working on it.

kaykuala said...

Bouncing belly of a corpse surfacing and images of Africa. Morbid feelings in a way. Nice poem!

Rachna Chhabria said...

Loved the imagery. As usual, a wonderful poem. I am going to borrow one of your poems to read to my students, will tell them that one of my blog buddies is a great poet.

Windsmoke. said...

Very haunting, ghostly, spooky with vivid imagery :-).

Mary said...

Sad, striking, REAL!

Dave King said...

Ooops, it wasn't meant to be that elusive! Back to the drawing board perhaps.

Thanks, but not sure how to square morbid feelings with nice poem!

Thanks for the feedback. I am flattered that you have thought to use one of my poems with your students - but I think you pought to be more truthful with them!

Much appreciate the comments. They are always useful.

Thanks for the "striking" and "real". Sad, alas, goes without saying, doesn't it? I found it very difficult not to slip into what might have sounded sentimental.