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cover art Poems from the Other Land by Ruth Mark < back  : index  :  next >   

P e e r l k l a m p l a a n  -  ' P e a r  L a n e '

Cheap-carpeted cage, subdued
By netherworld light struggling for admittance
From skylights in the off-balance roof
The angles all-wrong, the air muffled
In that hidey-hole up in the clouds.

Our tree-house we called it
In an attempt at optimism
It was less comfortable than a tree-house
Hell’s furnace in summer
Depths of Siberia in winter
And all the while the broken pipe
Coughing out sludge, bronchial spasms
From sink to office, a dead smell lingering
Like yesterday’s old garbage.

Fat-bodied moths a plague from the leafy canopy
Holding us tight to its chest
Making it impossible to break down the walls of this box
And let the world in.

Mould, black, liver-spotted
Fingers smudged the walls of our bedroom
Toilet gurgling, a hungry stomach
Aching for comfort kept the caterwauling up all night
While the house’s specter crunched truck wheels
Out front on the loose gravel, appearing like a zombie’s mask
At any hour, day or night, haunting, rummaging,
Invading our privacy, access granted with a secret key
While we grasped freedom on the streets
He’d help himself to money we attempted
To hide in drawers. We felt like
Specimens in a jar, swimming in formalin
The fluid seeping into our bones
Watched, watched, eyes everywhere
Paranoia a separate personality we befriended
Living on the lane where no pears grow.


First appeared in The Eye, June 2005

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