Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Tuesday Poem: Christina


the eldest sister
she raised
her brothers
showed her sister

how to cook
for others first
but now she’s far
from those crowded streets

instead she’s on
an unfamiliar island

her wedding ring
still shiny
her husband
holding her at night.


cartoon dogs
on flannel sheets
wag at the rain
challenge grass clippings

she vacuums
broken porcelain
from the new orange carpet

finds a discarded bib
in the corner

for the first cry
from the
small bedroom.


she measures
the rice
three cups
for five mouths

slices meat
from chicken bones
to stir-fry
with choy sum

lays chopsticks
on white plates

says not to worry
she's last
to sit down
at table.


he works at the hospital
until 10 pm
wants dinner hot
when he gets home

they have two girls
and one on the way
he asks her to learn
to drive

her words boil
like soup

she swallows
picks up
the swat
to kill flies instead.


From the new house
she can see the school
she's learning the names
of the friends' parents

her children
come home
with words
she’s never heard

she wonders whether
to ask them to explain

pays for music lessons
buys a cake to take
to the school stall
learns to make party jelly.


after thirty seven years
the last daughter
leaves the house

three empty beds
faded floral curtains
a wardrobe still full
of teenage dresses

a car arrives
small feet patter

she runs past
the new high chair
opens the door
to the sound of “Por-por”.

The latest in a series of sonnet sequences I am writing about people close to me, exploring cultural beliefs to do with organ systems.


Janis said...

This is lovely, says a lot with a little. I like the small details that say so much, like buying a cake for the school stall.

Helen McKinlay said...

I really like this Renee. It is simply said and feels true. Love the way you related it via organs. well chosen words too. Words boiling like soup :-)

Elizabeth Welsh said...

Mm, the titles of organs heading each piece is intriguing. I particularly liked 'Lung'. Will look forward to seeing some more of your work around these ideas, Renee :)

Ben Hur said...

It's a nifty idea, linking the poem sequences to organs of the body. And it is well-executed the way the alleged emotional properties of those organs link to the words in the particular sequence. Really enjoyed this poem.

Sorry, but the editor/pedant in me spotted that "vacuums" is spelt wrongly as "vaccums".

Piokiwi said...

Thanks Janis, Helen, Elizabeth and Ben! Ben, thanks for spotting - will correct ;)

Michelle Elvy said...

I like the way this works, and the details make it memorable, turning description into layering. Really interesting poetry here.

Mary McCallum said...

Hi Renee - just coming by on our birthday to thank you for your support of Tuesday Poem - for the poems and poets you bring each week and your support of our community. Happy Birthday to us! The global poem is up there now in all its glory... Mary & Claire