A PHP Error was encountered

Severity: Notice - Message: Undefined index: HTTP_ACCEPT_LANGUAGE - Filename: config/config.php - Line Number: 585

LUMPENHUND (poem) - Ian Duhig - United Kingdom - Poetry International
 
Poetry International Web
en/nl
dutch news
previous | next
 
 
 

Lumpenhund
My torturer’s hair smells of fallen leaves,
the times my family gathered acorns
for coffee. Evenings, I’d stalk the wharves
so my paper clothes could smell of copra,
my wooden shoes not sound like poverty.

      One night I saw a shooting star
fall between the coamings on a steamer,
like a knot of kerosene-soaked oakum
falling from the hand of a saboteur.
To be on the safe side I joined them both.

My torturer’s eyes are blank as the eggs
(which must be a fresh clutch of wild hens’ eggs)
that transfer visa-stamps from one passport
to the next perfectly, if newly-boiled
and rolled warm on the feathery pages.

      One night I saw a shooting star
tumble between the bars of a gutter,
like some crumpled poem with name on name
written in lemon juice between its lines.
Finally my left hand denounced my right.

My torturer’s hands are suppler
than the leather he soaks in egg-water
like a folk-cure, so he won't catch my warts.
Sparks are falling from my hair. I’ve confessed
to everything but the hunger.