Paul Archer - photo Paul Archer - poet, translator



Happy Family

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

The woman has to go,
she is desperate, 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…

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

The girl plants poppy seeds
between her legs.
The 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 say pet?
A large black scorpion
pinned to the kitchen wall
by its feet, one in each corner.


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