Thursday night, 1979

By | 1 May 2019

My goldfish died
the night Dad pushed the fridge over.

The machine lay on its side,
exposing lines of dusty metal coils

that were somehow terrifying,
– all those parts, not meant to be seen.

It was the surprise of the violence,
mostly, that became the earworm;

my tiny brother screaming inside-out
from the cot across the hall;

the smell of shit swelling like a balloon
inside our old wooden house.

Through the kitchen door slit, a
woman I recognised as my mother,

moving deliberately in a rigid calm;
gathering up her purse,

stepping over the broken pot-plant,
a silver crucifix bouncing from her chest.

Through the open window, the sweet
rot of wild jasmine seeping thick:

an entire suburb
groaning under the weight.

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