Poetry by Angela Costi

8



INCIDENT IN AISLE 5


I was almost as tall as the shopping trolley, 
I could see up and through its bars
to catch the slap of Mama’s hate 
across Baba’s cheek.
What’s he done this time?
A question on loop.
Her purse was agape, 
not one coin. 
The trolley was a foolish promise
of fruit cups, Weetbix, raisin toast… 


His cheeks were a permanent red,
genetic markers of so…so… 
sorry, shoulders tilted to grovel,
suspicion arose 
if something came good. 


She swiped my hand off the trolley,
zipped her bag shut and marched
down the aisle 
without one look back.


He continued to search the floor 
for answers.
I knew she would leave 
expecting me to follow,
I ran after her – 
I did turn once 
and saw a man 
on his knees 
between the Corn Flakes and the Milo
transfixed to that trodden floor.




WHEN THE HILL’S HOIST BECAME THE WISHING TREE


With a peg in her mouth,
Maroulla walks the circumference of the ‘clothes tree’ 
looks at each pillow case, sheet, table cloth, Taki’s singlet,
reminders of the white handkerchiefs 
tied to the wishing-tree at Vasa.


When she was eight, she tried to reach the branch 
with her hanky,
there was no-one there to hold her up, 
she didn’t whisper her secret dream to the tree that day
and the next morning she left 
stuffing her flag of surrender 
into her suitcase.


Taki’s out for the day, 
she’s alone
with her waving, white promises 
she touches them one by one,
the pillow case, sheet, table cloth – his singlet. 


She reaches and holds onto the bar 
swings herself into the wind 
at peace with spent wishes and dreams.
She is a flying stream of coral, rose and black 
she is laughter spilling itself into the sun
she is the fragile wires of affection
she has come to know 
as home. 


Review of Lost in Mid-Verse by Angela Costi

Find out more about Angela Costi here

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