Monday, October 15, 2012

A Bad Season (A poem)

they are running wild, a tethered pack
nine of them at last count, all the street's kids
shaking the air with screams.
screaming why? who can say
in fright or delight
or as part of the never-spoken but always-present dominance play
that animates them.

the dog chases along their heels.

watching through the window, the woman pours the boiled water over the teabags, and says,
it's been a bad season for it.
a bad season
for many things.

Yes, sighs the Other, reaching out for her mug
hard to breathe, it is. I feel a heaviness
all the time, deep. A weight.

Outside, the youngest starts to wail, but before the woman can move
one of the older children has scooped her up on his back, tearing piggyback around the yard
the tears are dried by the warm wind.

You know, says the Other, about Her, right? About what happened?
I can't let ... well, you know. My girl, she can't go there anymore.

The woman sips at her tea, eyes slipping to the child-clan in the bottle-brush tree
and says, No, what? What happened?

Well, says the Other. Well. The sigh holds a burden
It settles, a blanketing weight, on the woman's shoulders. She shivers suddenly
there's a storm coming

Well, it's these friends. Of Hers. They are -
You know. They grow it. And sell, too. And use, oh my God -
The Other shakes her head.
The woman says, Not so good, with the kids
Not good at all! says the Other, swallowing her tea
And it's worse, oh listen
there was this time -

No! the woman says. A bike? At her head?
Doesn't she realise they are not good for Her? Doesn't she know?

She wants to belong, says the Other, reaching for a biscuit. She wants -
oh, it's Her, who knows what she wants. She has her man, her kids, but it's not enough
not for Her
she wants someone to take away the bad feelings, to make Her
not feel crushed anymore.

A bad season, the woman says, inhaling from her puffer
her breathing a thin wheeze. bad
and heavy, the weight

Yes, says the Other, gathering the cups to wash, Yes.

The kids, playing Ring a Rosies in the yard, all fall down.

- Kathy, 15/10/12

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