Through the Skylight by Deborah Swain

Cover art by Lucienne Dorrance

24 pp., 2003



Through the Skylight


Through the skylight

in a slate roof

slick with rain—

the bright blob

of a shade-less bulb

blotches my retinas

with its phosphorescent echo.

I steer it across

the inside of my eyelids,

chasing its elusive colours,

but cannot blink it away.

Like a film

I project it over

the blind stare of the house

& light up the windows

of each deserted room—

a mischievous ghost

flicking on switches,

mimicking lifetime habits.


The garden backs onto ours.

Pink roses drop

petals on the lawn.





Making love

then making toast

one Sunday morning

they caught a glimpse of

other people,

rather like themselves,

long before

they got to know each other




The Eggshell Blue Room


The locked bedroom

was painted the colour

of a magpie’s clutch

—a speckled eggshell blue.

The night he pounded

his head against walls

built of brick

he really believed

he would smash his way

through delicate chalky tissue

& find only glutinous goo

the other side.

Then he’d swim his escape!


They found him

the next morning

in the eggshell blue room

—speckled red.

He had smashed a way out

of sorts.