Paul Archer - photo Paul Archer - poet, translator



Happy Family

The man in the sun lounger
has an itch in his nose.
He scratches it, he pulls at it,
blood starts to squirt, he sits up,
blood is dripping, dripping,
draining under the sand.
Soon the whole beach
is vermilion red.
It is sunset.

The woman has to go, she
needs to, she is desperate,
but nothing happens, she clenches
and pushes, but nothing happens.
She thinks of her mother
slapping her head, her father
slamming the door,
but nothing happens, days pass,
months pass, years pass
and then a stranger
pulls a pistol on her,
and she goes, boy, she goes…

The boy is always happy,
smiling all ways, he has a tail
he wags to and fro.
It flicks to and fro so fast
it flies off, over the trees,
and then boomerangs
back to coil round his neck
like a school scarf
and throttle him.

The girl has planted poppy seeds
between her legs.
The red poppies dance inside her eyes,
and then she is sick of them.
She wants herbs instead,
but they dry up - her life is ruined.
Mother, daughter, father, son,
pet, an ordinary family.
Did I mention the pet?
A large black polished scorpion
pinned to the kitchen wall
by its feet, one in each corner.


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