Sherryl Clark

Sherryl Clark has been writing and publishing poetry for over 20 years. She is a co-editor of Poetrix magazine, and teaches at Victoria University TAFE (Professional Writing & Editing). Her verse novel for upper primary readers, Farm Kid, won the NSW Premier’s Literary Award for Children’s Writing.




Down this back street
where foreigners are like
grains of rice on black cloth

you come to play
your secret game, undressing
with the slow malaise

of heat coating your skin,
ready to haggle with me
over who should spring the trap.

Rank clothes hang from windows
like human curtains,
your hands stroke his hair

you contain pain in your fingers,
strike like a cobra
prodded with a stick.

I see your face twist
in the mirror; from where I hide
it looks like a smile.



There are days when I don’t know
how to keep breathing this air;
there is too much of it, or
not enough, it’s too thick or
full of life, too empty of
anything I can use. I look
at clouds and wonder if
they are any better, being
full of water, or if I
should move to the desert,
to an altitude where the air
will whistle in and out of me
in thin, clean streams.
At night, I lie on my back
stare at the blank ceiling,
wait for air to be blameless,
to do its job of pressing
and sucking without my
interference.  Or to just stop
demanding I deal with it.
I try as hard as I can
to resign, abstain, push it away,
but here it comes again,
shuddering, determined to
have its way with me