'Nonna' by Josephine Clarke | States of Poetry WA - Series Two

– photograph 1964.

at the bridal table
in front of Mill Hall stage
she is small
and tight lipped       flowers
from somebody’s garden
in a bucket behind her head

the shell of her jacket
loose
as though she has been
deflated
her chest an empty cavity

all that sheen –
hat, suit
damask on the table –
cannot mask the weather
of another century
traced across her face

another hemisphere
hangs in gold hoops at her ears

in the primavera of her growing
great iron cannons
to the East of the Valtellina
blasted a chorus for her nightmares
la prima guerra
cast that strong jaw
her straight stare

did she choose not to understand
the photographer’s request
for a smile?

Josephine Clarke

Josephine Clarke

Josephine Clarke

Josephine Clarke grew up in the South West of Western Australia, the daughter of Italian migrants. After gaining an Arts Degree and a Dip. Ed. at the University of Western Australia, she taught English at high school before travelling to other states and countries with her family. Josephine has had short stories and poetry published in Cordite, Westerly, indigo, Eureka Street, and the Review of Australian Fiction. She now lives in Fremantle and is a member of a collective that organises monthly poetry readings for Fremantle Voicebox, and has been actively involved with Out of the Asylum Writers’ Group, based at the Fremantle Arts Centre.