How it trapped the dust,
the stucco façade of that old square house
the colour of deepest heaven
behind the oleanders’ poisonous pink.
Half the back yard was an offering of scarlet tulips
like a ritual letting of blood.
In the other bed the lymph-coloured kohlrabi
craned on their purple stalks,
slowly gathering the will to walk.
The father, young and newly ill, had begun
in desperation to build a catamaran,
safe outside in the shed.
By five pm, the hemmed-in kitchen was already dim.
She had finally made him the kohlrabi soup
and put it to cool on the bench.
When he came inside,
the babies, latched in their chairs,
were brandishing spoons and shrilling with hunger;
he yanked the plug
of the bakelite radio blaring against the din
and cut the cord with his knife.
Late that night she tiptoed into the kitchen:
the abandoned soup had set to a sinister pond
gravelly-soft as semolina, elastic as phlegm.
It was the exact colour, she saw, of the moonlight
mottling the yard of scattered toys
and the phalanx of triffids beginning to stir.
Over the scene,
a disappointment balloon
was drifting to if and when
the boat would be launched,
the family split,
and the small blue house knocked down.
Another wonderful poem from The Best Australian Poems 2012 - this time by Adelaide poet, Jan Owen.