Poetry by Sue Hall Pyke

“The Arrival of the Gyros”
             By Sue Hall Pyke
For Plath and Πάσχα

They ordered her, this stiff pink corpse
Bare as a glare and way too heavy to lift.
I would say the bath is a coffin
Enamelled sepulchre
She might leave a dint in it.

The floral sheet is loose, her flesh is visible
I have to live with her, overnight.
And I can’t keep away from her
Shower, death row, I have no choice but to see her there.
This is my in-law’s home, we’re broke, no other place to go.

I put my mind’s eye to her.
She is still, still
Tomorrow she will turn, swarming hands all over her
Skin then flesh for tradition
Bones charcoal her slavery their slavering,

How can I get her out of here?
It’s the turn of her weight that will appal me most of all,
Her sibilance, intelligence.
For my Grecian mob
Small mouthfuls, one by one, and for God, together!

I lay me down to fitful rest.
I am not a Moses.
This is not my maniacal order.
She can’t be sent back.
She died because I have done nothing.

I wonder how hungry they’ll be.
I wonder if they would forgive me
If I undid their work, buried her under a tree.
There is the fig tree, its hand-made ladder.
The blossoming orange.

They might ignore me completely
In my mourning suit, my funereal air.
Slaughterhouse screamer
Why should they turn with me?
Tomorrow, sweet God, let me set them free.

Their loss may be temporary

Sue’s publications include some poetry and a few short stories, together with quite a bit of narrative non-fiction and scholarly work. Gestures towards most of these pieces can be found HERE. Sue teaches creative writing and Indigenous studies and is committed to restoring habitat on a small patch of the Stony Rises, an ‘Australian’ territory that always has been and always will be Djargurd Wurrung Country.

Copyright©2024 by Susan Hall Pyke. All Rights Reserved