The Ceiling

Larry Smit, Smokey Clouds in US 0612

[Poem from my third volume of poetry, Cut a Long Story Short, which is about to appear at Puncher & Wattmann (Sydney) this month. The book is in four parts: Air Time/Spring (childhood), Fire Time/Summer (youth), Water Time/Autumn (middle age), Earth Time/Winter (old age). Perhaps verse novel, perhaps verse memoir, constructing a myth of the life I found myself living within the real historical context since world war two… Various collages of historical events, inventions etc surround the poems. This poem is from the first section. ‘Glonn’ is a small town in Bavaria not far from Munich. For anyone interested, the book should soon be available for purchase at the Puncher and Wattmann website. The image of smokey clouds is by Larry Smit.]

The Ceiling

I remember the way my grandmother
and I looked up at the ceiling together
lying in her bed playing
Ich seh was was du nicht siehst

I spy with my little eye.
What does she spy now
that I don’t now
that she is dead?

Does she still see the ceiling
in that wretched room in Glonn
shared with three other moraturi,
the TV set like a suspended altar,

the smell of old piss and disinfectant?
The brain flickering on
behind the parchment skin,
does she see the moment

my mother gasps
to feel some presence
as her own heart stops
and the ceiling

is no longer there?

15/16 February 1944, Berlin
302 dead
26 Lancasters, 17 Halifaxes lost

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~ by Peter Lach-Newinsky on November 1, 2014.

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