Eyesight good for the devil, his kingdom
made out of insects’ parts in a dim room,
a curtain hitched in the window like a tombstone.
Woodworms tick shovels in the crossbeams;
coal-written signs hieroglyphed the wall; the town’s
one necromancer shuffles up and mutters
what his hand touches: a lethal science.
Outside, the house has other warnings: a ram’s
skin, its skull and horns nailed to the doorway.
Vine-choked veranda, root-split steps cut off
by a cesspool – alive and dead in it –
cricket balls and our eyes peering at this dark fortress.
This time I am to fetch it, the last leather
ball to fly over the fence like a black butterfly;
and at that age, oblivion matters, so one boy
at a time is sacrificed. The evening too early
to declare “bad light”, I push my head between
the barbwire, crossing over, laughter like goats.
Taken from the book