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troublemag | June 16, 2019

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Teaspoon Full

Teaspoon Full

 

It’s been passed down

not like a WW2 sibling’s shrunken jumper

to make ends meet in this then innocent country

but a curio of words that squeezed

between the searchlights under the wires

holding its breath as if guilty

its eyes night-wide in the memorized landscape

of audible suction of trip-up tussocks

and soft quiet weeds to the distant silk-mapped wood

off-casting its weighty answer into the slush

before the slit-eyed dogs drained the air for excitement.

After escape the curio waited for a post-war diplomacy

– until weeping had been bandaged in tissue and boxed

with faces of family never again to change expression –

then it spoke from the tongue of a guest in a pause

of conversation when subject matter had thinned

and coffee and chocolates had not yet been served.

‘Someone told me for the life of me I can’t think who

that a woman in one of the POW camps

had spread her daily ration of butter all over

her face …’

 
 
Jan Price