Ian C. Smith
seen in the lampís refulgence
his fatherís base criticism
on this private place
where he dwells alone
the voice pleads his mother keeps her mouth shut
the voice swears a cow groans voice voice
his father glares in rage appeals to his wife.
The boy rehearses his life
as if he senses the road ahead
conjures a blanket of rain
to cushion sound
and sweeten the atmosphere
turns another page
yearns for these other worlds
strains to unmask the future.
He switches his focus to that rain
swells it to a deluge
a freak flood
seizes the voice
its bleak cry of distress
holds it under
until it is drowned.
The bed collapses as they sleep.
He curses like a frightened caveman.
She sighs, rises, stoic as a sheep.
They fix the frame, his push, her shove.
He counts the hours until time for work.
She remembers dreaming of sweet love.
She rubs moisturiser into her face.
He yawns, shambles to the toilet.
She thinks their marriage bedís a disgrace.
She flicks the lamp off, heart at war.
All is quiet along their dark street.
In thirty seconds he starts to snore.
That dream eludes her, so awake.
She takes her clothes, tiptoes to the TV.
She thinks her own curses, at Infobreak.
In the cold room she reads instead.
Her mind drifts to the story of the past.
The past is as fragile as that bed.
She plays Goreckiís sad songs low.
Doors are closed on trusting sleepers.
Images softly come and go.
Ian C. Smith
Ian C. Smith lives in Australia with his wife and their four sons. His work has
appeared in Best Australian Poetry, The Dalhousie Review, Descant,
Magma, The Malahat Review, and Westerly. His latest book, Memory Like
Hunger, is published by Ginninderra (Canberra). For more information see
his Web site.