Sunday, October 21, 2012




The Wardrobe

Positioned under a solar roof, it is framed
in lightweight timber, lacquered by workers
in Guangdong, and sent on a lurching ride across
oceans. Slats dip with a lick of dust,
open to the body’s temple of skirts, suits,
coats and frocks – outfits that grew and grew –
the ark of clothes kept for years, as if they might
emerge by some trick of light,
slip from their crocheted hangers, fit the new
svelte you since the cabbage soup, Atkins or
Master Cleanse – a surfeit of diets meant to fail
like marriage, though now you’re a single world of one
where a far-off silence is that little black dress
on a bus ride to town, two nights
proceeding the break-up.

In the mustiness of white walls, two crates
of books: Tootle, Bambi, Where the Wild Things Are.
Some with battered spines, corners bent more often in the excited
plunge into pillows and sheets. The introspection of days
with your children immersed in Snakes & Ladders, Monopoly, Twister.
There’s a shrill of parties squarely on the floor, boxed cards,
Christmas decorations, papery thin, made after school.
On the top shelf, an orchestra of memory: an acoustic guitar,
two harmonicas wheezed through with spit, a ukulele
where the moths fly in.  Photographs are pooled here
with no sound, for the players are gone, and only treasures are left.
You wince, pushing back the clothes, the resistance being in the
way you cradle two Vinnies’ bags. Defiance and pleasure join
in closing two louvre-doors, one on the larger you,
the other – on that little black dress.

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Evangelyne
Published by Australian Poetry Centre, Melbourne

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Helen Hagemann's first literary collection, Evangelyne & other poems, was published by the Australian Poetry Centre in their New Poets Series 2009. She has two e-books, The Joyous Lake & Par écrit: poetry of the feminine @ http://issuu.com/evangelyne/​​docs/joyous_lake/

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