her eyes are *blootered / swollen like the
plums that were not in the ice box / but kneedeep
by the river rotting in torrential scottish
rain / they were bruised & slimy / burst & oozing /
he was probably saving them for breakfast /
**[Q: what do you tell a woman with two black eyes?
A: nothing, you already told her twice]
the photo of my parents on their wedding
day is torn in half / held together by the twenty
four hour emergency plumbing magnet stuck to
the door of my westinghouse where i hang all
memories requiring refrigeration / in my
father’s half he looks like a boy in a hired
evening suit / his brylcreemed hair peaking to
attention like the great wave off kanagawa / his
legs are spread hands clasped ring finger sporting
the knuckle duster he would cherish from that day
forward for richer, for poorer, in sickness & increasing
sickness / in her
torn half she stands meek / stiff as the plastic
bride perched on top of their 3-tier wedding
cake / her stilettos sunk so deep into the icing
they have reached the marzipan / in the
years that followed she would obey & forsake /
take the hammer & smash the ring with which
she he wed / walk into endless doors / set fire
to her white lace dress / swallow
the tut tuts from the good women in line at the
bakery, each teetering precariously on the fragile
shells of their own hypocritical meringues
whispering, look at the bruises would you …
why in god’s name does she stay?


* blooter, blouter, bluiter n. and v.
[′blʌutər, ′blutər] –– to obliterate, strike excessively hard [often refers to a football]

** In 2020, this still passes as a joke.
kickasshumor.com > funny-joke > what-do-you-tell-a-woman-with-two-black-eyes

This poem is in response to the photograph, 'Yvonne, student, Yugoslavia' by Merilyn Fairskye and forms part of the Shadow Catchers exhibition at the Art Gallery of New South Wales 2020.

Ali Whitelock reads 'and the angel of the lord appeared to him and said to him, "the lord is with you, O mighty man of valor"' [judges 6:12]'