Supermarketing; Equator


My son is nearly a man
I see his teeth grinding
on his longing for escape
working it like a piece of gum
that he hides in his cheek when he smiles at me

When he was three, and four
each Thursday we would 
buy the supermarketing together
by supermarketing together, he and I
a ritual so treasured
it required both noun and verb 
of our own devising

He would skip along the aisles
putting items in our trolley with
ostentatious goodness
revelling in the praise of strangers

We would queue for the checkout
manned by Robert 
an older fellow 
with a kind smile and an earring

My son would lift the supermarketing
onto the conveyor belt
and Robert would exclaim, every Thursday
that my son was a Great Helper
and every Thursday 
my son would look shyly pleased 

I can think of other words
both noun and verb
that fit this story
Real words, that we didn’t make up

Mother is one
Another is too obvious
to point out to a clever young man 
grinding his teeth

I hope that when he is an old man
he remembers skipping along supermarket aisles
and Robert

At night I sprawl naked 
on mother’s belly
she belches at the touch of flesh
wet and lecherous

Fungal spores land on glistening skin
and sprout!
Illicit congress to a torch song
of whiplash storms and screaming frogs
blades chopping, chopping
over the bed

At first I felt uneasy without sheets
A child of peaceful, cooling nights
release required safe covering
of chest, legs, feet

But now, beneath lightning-scorched roof I sleep
skin to air
skin to wind
skin to water.

Liz Bennett works as a mediator in the remote tropical city of Darwin, Australia. She was a finalist in the 2019 NT Literary Awards, a poetry place-getter in the 2012 Australian Cancer Council Arts Awards, and has poetry and other writing published or forthcoming in Not Very Quiet, be:longing, Stereo Stories, Sparks of Calliope, Lighten Up Online and the anthology Imagining the Real: Australian Writing in the Nuclear Age (ABC Enterprises).