Before the party
It must have just stopped raining
When we arrived. The road, licked for hours
By the quiet slap of countless passing tyres,
Gleamed blackly under the streetlamps
Like wet liquorice. We sat for a moment
Watching the mist descend
Cobwebbing the edges of trees and hedges,
The silver turning of a leaf in the damp air,
And the tenting of the telegraph wires
Carrying beads of water like fairy lights
Backlit by the moon.
Feeling privileged to witness
This heady scene, we realised
(as car doors slammed and gravel crunched)
That our reason for having driven here
Was, for a moment, quite forgotten.
Published in Literary Yard, 22 August 2018
Yesterday I found
A small lacquered box
Which had sat on her dresser
Since I remember.
As blackly shiny now as then
The painted bird’s eternal flight
Towards scattered painted petals
A constant, unwavering thing
In a wavering world.
I know what’s in it
And feel the thrill of familiarity
When I lift the lid
On a little piece of the past
And hold again
The Paris corner-café matchbox
Delicately illustrated, and holding in turn,
My miniature father cut out in sepia
Younger, more vulnerable than I ever knew him,
And underneath, a printed Roman Society library card
With several other cards from other libraries,
The stub of a borrower’s docket
(she was ever a reader, my mother)
A hair-pin, iron grey and bobbled at the ends
Such as she used to use and are used no longer.
And at last, there she is herself
Arresting and poised in black-and-white
Pointy dark-rimmed sunglasses in hand,
Her head turned back to look at me
One fine eyebrow arched
Her eyes holding mine
Through the years.
Denise is an editor by trade. Born in Italy, she lived in the UK before emigrating to Australia. She holds an MA in Bibliography and Textual Criticism and works in publishing. Her poetry is published in various literary journals including New Reader Magazine, Other Terrain Journal, Pink Cover Zine, Literary Yard, Backstory, Scarlet Leaf Review, Poet’s Corner/InDaily and The Blue Nib. She was commended in the Australian Catholic University Poetry Prize (2018), shortlisted for the Robert Graves Poetry Prize (2018), and received a special mention in the Pangolin Poetry Prize (2018).