Calling You.

 

 

The phone handset is prone

And silent in its cradle.

No-one knows my number.

 

I’m alone in this new place,

A stranger in this space.

 

You were supposed to be here

Now. I dial your number

 

Please check the person trying

The message is disconnected

 

I’m separated from you.

Again I try your number

 

This service has been calling

You have called again later

 

The baby doesn’t stop crying

In the sweet, lace trimmed bassinet.

 

Please try unavailable number

Not before this again or

 

Is not a recorded number.

Please check the person trying.

Criminal.

 

 

I had a 70 denier black

Stocking over my head

With my nose pressed

Flat

And my lips as if

Puckered.

Like mine their

faces were hazed.

 

I looked like a criminal

But I had not stolen

Anything.

Except the opportunity

For their morbid fascination.

About these poems:

 

These poems are from a current work in progress, a collection that is emerging from trauma which poetry is helping to release.

About this poem:

It's interesting the things that stand out to children; the things that sear into their lifelong memories. This poem is about the factory my mother worked at that I sometimes had to be at as a 8-9 yo child. The things that struck me back then - the fish faces in the wire cages on the forklift, the hot tempers of the migrant workers, the industrial grime. And the office - quiet, clean. 

The Factory.

 

Iridescent rainbows glow in the engine oil 

spilled on the concrete floor. Scales of large fish

 sparkle silver and blue behind a pressing grid of wired cages. 

Their eyes stay open to the dusty, gray walls and pipes,

mouths poised oh! at the passing tubs of fish guts.

In my mother’s office I collect the confetti of white telex 

machine perforations. Some sprinkle from my hands to lay 

bright against the ocean green swirls in the waxed linoleum. 

A man stabs another man with a filleting knife

in the filleting room. 

My mother tells me albacore is the new chicken of the sea. 

Sometimes we would leave 

when the factory women were finishing their shifts.

They wore white coats like doctors

with bloodied plastic aprons and 

white rubber boots,

laughing, gesturing -

now they can leave this place.

May 2019

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