Close the little papa’s eyes,
close’m eyes, close’m eyes.
Sleepy baby with the goldfish lips,
deep dark lashes, angel-pink cheeks,
ears like truffles, or hatchcovers
for underground shelters.
Darling baby with the snotty snout,
swept-back ‘in flight’ hair,
the tightly closed lashes
of a president embalmed
in a coffin of dreams, under the eye
of the gaudy activity bear,
Ellis’s Arepa Omeka —
a tattooed, rope-wristed
hand and a fish —
the poster of Barney and friends.
The curtains shuffle in an easterly.
Tamarisk feathers fade yellow, fade green
in a sea of moist air and chimney pots.
Not a palace, but cheerful,
this little house and warm.
We have an angel in the bed with us:
chafed fluey nostrils and wide
globed brow, his right arm flung
between her face and mine,
the left left out on the covers.
Spider-red capillaries on shut lids,
Chanel lips succulent as anemones,
nipple-blistered still at twenty months.
Her ring-finger hand covers one breast.
He sucks the other and fiddles
with my penis with his foot.
LISTEN to ‘big bed’ by Graham Lindsay
Graham Linsday was born in Wellington in 1952 and currently holds the Ursula Bethell/Creative New Zealand Residency in Creative Writing at the University of Canterbury in Christchurch. He has published seven books of poems, the latest being Lazy Wind Poems (Auckland University Press, 2003). He is a past editor of Morepork (Ridge-Pole, 1979-80).
Lindsay comments: ‘It’s a lullaby. I found caring for a baby, an infant, required such considerable attentiveness that the attention was rewarded with observations. “Arepa Omeka” is the Maori transliteration of Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end.’