Stocking Filler

by Lise Day

When I was a child I read
of this exotic fruit the
tangerine. Golden, fabulous orb,
trapping the sunshine of distant
Eastern lands. In post-war
Europe even an orange was
precious. Peeled and presented
with reverence. But tangerines
existed only in fables. Story-book
children found them deep in
toes of Christmas stockings.

Now I am grown-up, and despite
the attempts to recapture
that old glamour through names
like mandarin and clementine
the tangerine is a mundane fruit,
stripped of all exotica, missile
at the rugby, sold in sacks,
transmuted to a common naartjie.

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Freedom

by Liz Trew

leaves a window open
lifts the latch
lets itself out

Freedom travels across boundaries
passes dark hours, rides the tall wave
feels the furnace

Freedom pushes and struggles
cries and sheds blood
arrives different – new

Freedom waits, active and still
undoes and unwinds
looks behind – beyond

Freedom powers its own house
reaches
holds unknown music

Freedom unfreezes its streams
looks afresh
at the face of another

Freedom broods, gives birth
in the blood of itself
is never alone

 

 

 

Thirst

by Annette Snyckers

One warm day follows another
into what we used to call winter.
No rain falls,
dams dry up.

We buy bottled water,
hoard the plastic bottles
in cupboards like treasures –
to be rationed out
in the small blue glasses
I keep for special occasions —
on that inconceivable day
when the taps
spit
only
air.

I also buy a string of glass beads,
cold under my fingers,
pale turqoise
like the ice of a glacier.
I hang them
above the basin.
I touch them
to remind me
of water.

The Week That Was

by Cornelia Rohde

I saw my first corpse today.
I try to visualize her floating
down a river with a tulip
resting on her breast.

I like the compassion of Ram Das’s
words: “When all is said and
done, we’re really just all
walking each other home.”

I practice standing strong
and steady like a tree.
If I slow down the chi
moves more naturally.

When he’s here, I think
how great it would be
to have my own space;
but now, a lacuna.

A fraught poetry session:
a muttering young derelict rips
off her belt, spills Jacques’s wine,
damaging his braille computer.

I must focus on clearing
the detritus of my life.
I think of Kunitz; live
in the layers not in the litter.

It cheers me that everything
that has happened to me
is mine and that I get
to tell it in my own voice.