States of Poetry WA Poems

Tenement Building (black & white photograph)
Chris Kilip, Tate Britain, 2014

 

you view the house from across the street
part of a terrace       it fills the frame
the roof is cut off       no sky      dim light

upstairs      a balcony

After you died, Nana, I went to your room,
it was dark like that place beneath the breakwater
where barnacles cling and children never dare hide

I opened a blind, a stuck window, breeze fanned
and fanned the room, light across your dressing-
table, triple mirrors. Amidst perfume bottles,

hairbrush, amber beads, your art deco box,
walnut with inlaid mothe ...

Sadness overwhelms me in this circle of cut
flowers; some face me, plead for help, but if

I were to cradle one tulip-heavy head in my palm
like a premature baby, would its petals (that remind

me of my mother's skin when she was old) fall
to the floor? Others turn away in a dried blush

of shame. Just a few plump bodies flaunt sheen
on velvet cloaks, ye ...