A Passing Oryx
My tongue, this cotton sycophant
betrays me where the school mothers gather
gossip swarming the air. I nod
when they mistake me for an old chair;
that one covered in snot and cat hair.
Vicious they sing of the principal’s wig
and did he wink at Billy’s Mum?
Why would the teacher wear that dress,
and what of her abortion last year?
I close my eyes to stay unnoticed
fall as a wet word into the desert
where a sandstorm crusts me dry
and a fog beetle performs a headstand.
A dazzle of velvet dunes shifts to gold
I absorb the wisdom of a passing oryx
until he says, But what of her daughter’s
crooked teeth and the stains on her dress?
I open my eyes to find
the school mothers watching
but remain content
to be a dead chair.
Empty of Rain
My daughter finds a blue marble
examines its weather eye
asks me about redemption
her grandpa just died
my head is empty of wisdom and rain
the sun dulls my tongue
no real words. I tell her about our ancestors
and the day she was born.
She nods, watches me from deep inside the marble.
Of Gods and Chocolate
We are out
of gods and chocolate
sugar plum angels
fallen to syrup
plump with religion
hidden in grease
we are out we are out we are out
The River Turns
From a hole between bottles
time bends me to a dying baobab
where elephants, tall as gods
find life in its bark
the silt blood of the Limpopo
slugs by, watching me with one eye
plucking grit from my past
so I ask
would she be alive if I’d stayed?
but the river turns away
with pieces of the day
on my doorstep
and in the holes
left by your eyes
me to crunch
a permanent rub of wax
on my tongue
of nature’s violence
for the pleasure of feeling
but worry the bees
will have no home.
Lisa Alletson writes to find peace. Her fiction, non-fiction, and poetry have been published in The Globe and Mail, The Write Launch, Ginosko Literary Journal, 50-word Stories, and the VSS Anthology. She grew up in South Africa and the UK, and now lives in Canada. Her Twitter handle is @LisaAlletson
Read more of Lisa here.