Tim Upperton

Four bananas

Scrape margarine across eight slices
of white bread, raspberry jam and Nutella
and Marmite and jam again. Eight sandwiches –
two each. Cut and wrap. It’s not enough.
Add four bananas that will come home bruised
and blackened mid-afternoon. Seal in four
plastic lunch-boxes. It’s not enough. A thump
of backpacks and a wrenching of zips,
this daughter smiling and this daughter
sullen, and these two in a stumbling panic –
Don’t slam the door, don’t leave me here
beside myself – these two, my hatchlings,
my little ones, are gone, fallen through
that bright rectangle to where the world
waits with its claws and teeth, its every kind
of sharp and sudden thing…
I would halt traffic to let you pass,
I would snarl and swipe at the dogs
that bound from driveways, I would
smooth and make safe and contain but all
I am is here, I am always here – I wipe away
the slopped cereal, inhale the sour smell
of your rooms as I make your beds,
the sheets in which the grains of your hot,
dry bodies threshed all night already cooling.

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