In a room in a house in the middle of a street in Ocean Shores is my bed. Un-made at best it sports a little creature. Well, not so little. He is “Australian made,” an antique. The yellowed label reads “by Christine” – one more title which mocks the fact he doesn’t have a name.

Deem you it wise to paint innocence white?

Eagerly lap at the sterilized leer?

A-lined jaws are bleached to bite

The oleanders milk is a fatal beer.

He whose cheeks blush hath no reason to fear.

Yet he does not have a purpose. When I lie in wait for sleep, he presses into my belly, the perfect size of a pregnant tummy, or newly born child. His small claws like a live things nose, but often when I peek down there I see his bum. I say to myself – ‘Eloise, you’re cuddling him the wrong way up.’

2 Responses to “Wombat”

  1. 1 Rozzi July 29, 2008 at 2:20 am

    Well this is a hard one,
    what are we considering here?

    The wombat who has no name
    and is being pretty useless in the face of death? what other purpose would he have in your bed I wonder, if not to comfort,

    Now suddenly we are in a deep contemplation of guilt and Death,

    and just as soon we are back talking to ourself about the wombats amorphus being cuddled the wrong way up

    a detail in the prose
    Um I think< ” a title which mocks the fact he doesn’t have a name,is more concise descriptive whatever,” One more seems too many at this point. (the label is still sort of in the description.)

    He doesn’t have a name
    nor yet a purpose
    well he doesn’t have a name AND he doesn’t have a purpose

    Is it that he’s not doing a very good job of being a soft Toy? in the face of death?
    (I Mean I know what you mean, he’s pretty hopless at that, has he even got eyes?)
    he’s just a sort of lump, but he IS called Nelson Remember?

  2. 2 gillian August 9, 2008 at 3:46 am

    I would like to know your intention here – at first playful and naive, toying with innocence and ignorance, then the shift to threat and danger/death, then back to nothing in particular. Either I’m simply not getting the poem or else there is a structural problem here. My sense is that you don’t have a clear intention, so that in the end it all looks a little trivial and we don’t even care about the wombat or the poem because the whole poem is really a fragment of something else which you don’t want to tell us. Something to do with childhood and lost innocence, there is too much left out. So in the end the poem just becomes a tease, but the poet hasn’t set out to do this, so there is some frustration for the reader here.

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