Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Rose Mary Boehm- Three Poems

It’s a five-star alright
Come in… datang datang dalam.
It’s Orchard Road and Singapore
and Raffles and sand on the wooden floor
of the bar and four-posters and lithe women
and rich men. We only made it to the bar
but were shown around, just in case,
you know--hanya dalam kes. You find
rich man, melady. Orang kaya.
Even the orchids look scrubbed. I am
pleased that they named the ugliest
one after Margaret Thatcher. Not one chewed
out gum, not one beggar on the pavement,
the sick and old hidden from view. Don’t
look closer, stupid white men, orang putih
, you’ve never seen us.
The guide bows deeply.

I am a snake killer

It wasn’t a very pretty one. About a meter long,
undulating on the blue plastic pool winter liner.
Looked at me. We saw each other often. I wasn’t

sure what to make of it. The reputation
of snakes, you know. And Adam and the temptation
and black mambas, rattlers and cottonmouths.

Even though this was Europe, and even though
I knew there were those and others, they do have
a bad name. It looked at me again.  Calm.

I used to grab grass snakes when my brother
had convinced me I would live after. Frogs too.
Frogs became princes. Not sure I ever really

believed it, but I did stroke one simply
because I liked the way it stopped under my probing
finger, panting.  Princes, men…

Most of them are relatively harmless. And even
though my mother’s warnings rang in my ears,
as I felt this meter-long muscle resist

under the sharp edge of my spade
I wanted to undo the murder.


You must remind me of the good times. Before
we went to sleep and turned away, before you asked me
not to leave you, before I had to get drunk on those
nights I knew I couldn’t say 'no'. Remind me
of the times you walked naked to the kitchen
at three in the morning in that awful flat you shared,
just to take all the pips out of watermelon slices and feed me
cheese and juicy sweetness singing teddybearspicknick,
of the day you came to meet me at the port and how
you rested on the embankment while I cleaned the spark plugs.
Remind me of the scary film when you held my hand
or of the laughter when we married. You got a potted plant
from the pet shop and cut off the flower so I would
have a bouquet. Remind me because how else can I tell
the children they were conceived in love.

A German-born UK national, Rose Mary Boehm lives and works in Lima, Peru. Author of two novels and a poetry collection published in 2011 in the UK, ‘TANGENTS’, her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in a good two dozen US poetry reviews as well as some print anthologies, and Diane Lockward’s The Crafty Poet. She won third price in in the 2009 Margaret Reid Poetry Contest for Traditional Verse (US), and has been a finalist in several GR contests, winning it in October 2014.

No comments:

Post a Comment