Can loss still be a threat?
This yearning to celebrate
the ebony oiled skin
of my softly moving grandmother
dressed in her crisp cotton
white mourning dress.
(Black line edges etched on a white sheet)
I feel her touching
wine grey skin of my
grandfather’s worn thighs,
washing him with rosewater.
Her piano key fine fingers trembling,
drying the folds under a cold earlobe.
Her nail scratching his neck
Dry white line, bloodless
She rocked him in her arms once
after the trek
His sullen greying mouth drawn tight in grief
his hunger manifest as bone
The damp sameness of the scent of her Sandalwood powder,
sunlight soap hair,
cinnamon clean breathe,
feeding him home.
Of course you like looking
Savouring our edges
You keep doing that squinting
Thing with your eyes.
To see if a crackle glazed moon ‘blance de chine’
Is more sensual than a thin tang lady in spring
and a morning elephant, trunk down
Or if you really need the three together on
raw saffron silk,
rough to your tongue
with jasmine tea steaming
It is all really just about our skins
Young Chinese eyes up
Tired Japanese moon down
Burmese elephant lingering
Our blood red poetry
etched in a star cragged mountain
to excite you
Anne Hill (Born London, 1962) wanted to be a poet, but marrying into a Kiwi family, and teaching art, led her to be something else. She is a Eurasian migrant who values her New Zealand Citizenship. She also likes her Burmese, Indian and Irish selves as well as the Catholic net that brought them together in Colonised Greater India. Poetry as ‘speaking song’ makes sense to her. Her favourite word is Marginalia. Her least favourite word is half-caste.