Archive for August, 2013
0
The Old Story

Whispers of the ghost
The Matron’s dining table
We sit, foofing
Our too hot tea
While late filtered sunlight
pours into the kitchen sink
and bounces bright wall shapes
the dog anxiously monitors
Amusing! I snap back
Best not to distract-
The comment
and I’ve got PlayDoh in the working
Playing pictures with the past
Shaping the image in my mind
Here, we reflect in silence
Only sounds of busy neighbours
Pushing their mowers
In the cooling hour
And a mother shouting
Somewhere, in a yard nearby
“Get inside, this minute!”
Here, I ask tentatively,
gently prodding at the construct,
The tangibility, this old ghost tale
“When?”
A sigh, draws breath and then begins
Her hands busily, unconsciously
brushing over each other, one another
Rubbing warmth into her skin
As if there were a chill
Lulling in this room
This room:
with taunting Summer shapes
I can see
Tired eyes, she’s slow to recall
“It was a long time ago, after all-
“And I don’t know the full truth-
“But this, I’ll tell you-
“It happened.”
I’m looking at the painting
The red gum tree and the cart
Typical Australian art
I remember it hanging back
in the old house
Realising
That’s where it happened.
“But what about the bones?”
I blurt into the room, to no one really
I wait, leave the question hanging
and watch as it dries in the air
I can see there’s an old pain
Hiding in her old face;
a certain lack of colour
Something there and then gone
“It slept in that closet-
“For so many, many years.”
And she’s wringing her hands
Nervously, unconsciously
I take audible gulps of my
Now-cold tea
(unpleasant to begin with, really!)
I’m wondering, and then asking, (incredulously!)
“What……and you just let it be!?”
It just doesn’t make sense.
I stand… walk to the window
take note of the roses, perfectly groomed
Adorned with pink blooms
In a measured row
Look over to my sad knockabout car
Sitting ugly in the driveway
I find myself fighting
the urge to just leave, go
But instead here I’m facing it again
Her well-worn dining table
That sat many, fed many
I note the uniform placemats
Boring, beige, sensible
I catch myself out
I’m questioning events
Events and people therein
“I don’t understand-
“Why didn’t you do something?”
“Did you even try to do anything!?”
I stop, try swallow down my tone
Keep level, keep control
I ask, “Why wasn’t I ever told!?”
And now her milky blue eyes
Close, find the thought, open
I see it burning deep in her memory
But my intuition fails me
I’m watching, waiting
She says, “We wanted to wait-
“Wait for you to grow.-
“You see, it’s permanent: this ghost- “Wherever we go, it goes.-”
I flinch, “But didn’t you leave behind its bones?-
“That must be the reason why I hadn’t ever known?
“And if they are still there, in that house-
“Wouldn’t it now haunt someone else?”
She seems to shrink a little.
“No child,” she sighs
staring into her empty mug.
“Although we did try to pass it to another… but a ghost must remain from whence it came….”
I wait, anxious for her to speak. She looks up, pained, weak:
“…Honey, it lives in the skin of your mother.”

0
New Ventures

Taking a step
Away from the wall
Bruised head and all
And pivoting, like a dancer
As the current song,
long, long
and having played far too long
Abruptly ends.

1