Bedroom/s – Lella Cariddi



This night 29 March nineteen-thirty-nine

As clouds of war darken the sky

Under the oblique gaze of Pope Pius XII on the wall

In the bed of conception

A woman’s waters break

Over two days and two nights

Waves of contorting pain disfigure her beauty

On the third dawn a tiny boy is born

Hurriedly Baptised in water he is named Nino

After his grand-father

In the afterglow of having birthed a son

For her husband

The new mother with baby at her breast

Assumes the guise of the Virgin and Child

Was it a gentle love impulsed by the vanity of pleasure

Or a forced brutal act that gives this son a heartbeat?



This 29 September nineteen-forty-six

As the truck bringing mother and son from Station Pier

To Balranald breaks out from a dust storm

Into a crepuscular landscape

Seven year old Nino

Encounters his father for the first time

Families of mice and snakes are already in residence

In this one room cobbled from flattened kerosene tins

And newsprint that Nino tries to read

Before falling asleep

Alone on top of a brass handled trunk

From the double bed with an iron bedstead

Riffs of laughter and pangs of languid pain

Overlap and fade into the darkness


Was it fear of poverty or an honourable distancing from

Bitter befores that tore them away from their primary bed?


Copyright Lella Cariddi 2013

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