Mark Mahemoff


Changing Lanes

As he pulls away from the house
and turns on breakfast radio
he feels guilt trailing
like the tin cans tied to a car of newly weds.
But the further he travels
the fainter the rattle becomes
as each can detaches
and scatters like litter
abandoned in the street.
And now he picks up speed,
changing lanes
to get where he’s going
as quickly as possible.
And when he arrives
and parks
he notices a hiss
and sees that somehow
a tyre has been punctured,
a slow leak to remind him
there is no escape.


A New Premises

I arrive with lunch
to find you clearing out
years of junk and dust.
You say the man next door’s
gone bust
and now buys stuff from the tip,
polishes it up
and flogs it off to make ends meet.
I point to what’s left of your workshop
crammed with half-useful things
and think about how dreams
often end up in mothballs.
We pull down the old roller door
and visit your new premises.
It’s still a huge expanse
of empty cubic meters.
We quietly stand in the middle of nothing.
I’m finally learning how to be your son.


Artificial Flowers

It was only when you
came back later
that some clarity returned.
There’s no way of comprehending
in the hurly-burly of moving
and packing these last objects.
It’s ridiculous, the joy of rediscovering things
that you hadn’t realised had gone missing,
forgetting until that moment
you’d ever actually owned them.

It was when you came back
that you could take in the silent,
vacuumed enormity
of where, days earlier, you’d lived.
It felt like an empty church
or the abandoned lair of a drug smuggler
who’d been tipped off in the nick of time.
Just a neat pile of exhausted telephone books
in one corner of the lounge room,
those deep impressions in the carpet
and a bright bunch of artificial flowers
in a vase on the kitchen bench top.



Mark Mahemoff’s first book of poetry, Near-Life Experience, was published by Gininnderra Press in 2002. In 2003 he received an Australia Council grant which enabled him to finish his new book Traps and Sanctuaries, forthcoming this year from Puncher and Wattmann. Mark works as a marriage therapist and also plays the drums in various musical projects.