All posts filed under: A Saturday Woman Poet

‘Lifelike’ and other poems by Jennifer Matthews

Family Portraits   “With skin like that, you don’t have to open your mouth.”   Muting praise; Mother twirled back the sardine-tin key of his sister’s tongue.   Richard Avedon, embryonic photographer fixed his Kodax Box Brownie on Sister, to exhume her from her own beauty.   … she believed she existed only as skin, and hair, and a beautiful body …   He sought sun, the negative of his muse in hand to place on his shoulder: used his own skin as a contact sheet for the image to burn into him, to carry her as widows clutch framed photos of loved ones lost to war.   ok   1.   His tattoo: a stitch of self harm, a barcode, a brand, a word he wants so badly to replace his own skin that he signs consent to be burnt blue. He lies down to give his flesh to the upper-hand, the cruel beautician.   2.   Beauty is nothing but a flaw so stunning it can’t be ignored. Its twin image burrows into …

‘The Last Fire’ and other Poems by Helen Harrison

CROSSROADS   Nineteen forty-five was like that Free-wheeling to the crossroads; Fifteen miles later; her own birth-place; Travelling was the best part, the wind at her back, A greeting ahead. News from home….   Roaming the familiar lanes, sisters Continuous chatter; away from the Clatter of feeding hungry hens, pigs and Cows. She could roam without children, For a day: To pause for some rest.   A small slip of time away from the chores That shaped her life. No sooner had the Ceili begun, it was time for the door: among Promises to write, feeling satisfied to have rested Those tired limbs. She’d set off, her frame;   Feeling heavier, cycling up hills, the thrill Of the annual visit finished; her spirit slightly Diminished, yet younger. She’d relay through letters, How when she got back to the crossroads….the First thing she’d hear; to spoil her wonder   Were her pigs squealing with the hunger..   PASSING SUNSETS   Evening, and there is nothing To tempt me indoors.   Warmed from a day spent in …

‘Mulcair’ and other poems by Amanda Bell

The beauty of the game   is lost on me when I watch you play. I see the curve of your cheek, the rounded base of your skull – once a custom-fit for my palm – and feel again the warm weight of your incipience.   No more walnut-snug in my armour your head now bobs around the pitch and air shrieks with the thwack of plastic against wood, against bone.   (first published by The Ofi Press)   Dark Days   i.m. Savita Halappanavar   Suspended at the end of Krishna Paksha, the moon is a sickle freeze-framed in the night sky.   The fireworks have been cancelled, replaced by candles and a vision of you dancing on the cusp.   These are dark days between Diwali and Advent, waiting   for the moon to wax. (first published by the Burning Bush 2)   Troglodytes   On visiting Lascaux cave for the 70th anniversary of its discovery   Inland, the road torcs into forest. Among walnut trees, the house vibrates with life: bees, hummingbird …

“The Last Childbearing Years” by Lindsey Bellosa

The Last Childbearing Years Deliciously, all that we might have been, all that we were— fire, tears, wit, taste, martyred ambition— stirs like the memory of refused adultery the drained and flagging bosom of our middle years. –Adrienne Rich, “Snapshots of a Daughter-in-Law”   1.   The green leaves: so young against the sun. How our bodies betray themselves; spine of white pine, all its vertebrae clinging to the last of the day’s light— what insects have fed on it? What birds housed their young… it being an instrument and now, not, and now: what? We call it dignity, what the young fear in their lushness but the fear once swallowed can’t be swallowed again. It isn’t the age that tortures; it is the anticipation of the age… the sons who will forget us, not being forgotten; the purpose that ruins us and not its loss. What is empty is not there. Does the past mock like a calling bird? Do lost opportunities rattle like phantom limbs? Or what is never tasted, never remembered? Houses …

‘The Somnambulist Who Stood Still’ by Kate O’Shea

The Somnambulist Who Stood Still   1. Odorous   Don’t warble. She smells you for her own. His scarf is a garrotte, her on all fours. Hors d’oeuvre. Opens no doors. Whores. Don’t warble. She is not what she seems. She is real, mean; eats dwarves, oscillates on fat fingers, odorous dreamer, osseous tail – a small pencil from a bookie shop that wriggled down the back of the couch – that is how he wrote poetry, that is how he got in trouble, we say they are witches, no one believes, no one believes, no one believes. She tells him he smells like cabbage. He smells like her Daddy.   2. Lady Gaga   She is twisting hay, going on about the caul, her helmeted head, preternatural, making up stories. An heirloom on paper. Making out with sailors, but she is drowning in wine and brine. Pretty unnatural if you axe me. Goodluck to her. Sleeveen. We ain’t too chummy with batshit crazy. Amen to that. Cross yerself. Her eyes are stains, the dark …