Poetry pages
number 4
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Poem and illustration by Anjo Lafin
Nothing is cute or ordinary

Nothing is cute or ordinary when you get too close.
In England there was a squirrel
with the gall of Hannibal.
In Tasmania the rabbits seek to see
your driver's license
when you dare to return home in the dark.
Have you been drinking they seem to say?
We of course have just been fornicating
and tunnelling your lawn. Too bad
about that, just look how we run anyway.
The squirrel was a lone operator.
The loft would have been an ideal penthouse pad -
him up there, we down - well never mind, the new owner
deserved him, after all she felled his oak tree.
We just blocked up his access hole,
first with wood which he gnawed
until his mouth was nearly raw, then a metal plate.
He was outraged totally. Great!
I can't stand clog dancing
on the ceiling after eight.
The cat's habits made those of rabbits
seem refined, but she always seemed
so clean, so pure, so undefiled
by all that maiming. Her white chest
was bright as a halo or a peppermint,
her death breath holy water fresh,
but she did not like to look at you too long.
Sometimes her eyes had a shifty glint.

Then there were the things that hang upside down
in Queensland, the bat, the spiders.
The front verandah was festooned
with garlands for a ghouls' festivity,
(banned in this state along with Halloween
school drawings),
lit by yellow and black striped
lanterns of St Andrew's Cross variety.
The redback meditated
calmly in the laundry,
while André practiced hypnotism
on the praying mantis
and we supposed we were the Adams family.

In Africa there were the snakes.
To observe too closely
could entail a wake.
Our black and tan dog Soda once brought in
the neighbours' pet white rabbit,
and dumped the dead thing
on the carpet with a silly grin.
He was a diplomat.

New Zealand brought a revelation.
In the South I met a crofter,
an immigrant from Scotland,
with Cairngorm coloured eyes I can't remember.
His dogs worked hard like he did.
He was gentle with his sheep.
I can no longer count them in my sleep.
His old eccentric girlfriend
revealed to me the secret of his barn.
Look at their faces she advised.
There were scores there. This is no yarn.
Each one was unique
just as she had pointed out.
They were as different as we are
from each other so to speak,
more so in fact, but still I would not
recognize them in the street
without clothes or names,
and in all likelihood I ate one
and may have even praised its meat.