Heart Lag. Poetry by Rosa O’Kane

 Heart Lag

Back at my desk down under

the monitor advances

retires, advances  

hemispheres separated

by tin-foil trays

hot white washcloths

and please return

to your seat fasten your heartstrings

decide where your home is

heart is. The captain apologises  

for the turbulence as my office door

edges open. She’s wearing her purple

dressing- gown and slippers.

Her hands tremble with gifts.

Wedges of orange, a cup of Suki tea.

He’d Be in Heaven 

In the marquee I kneel on dew-soaked

grass and hope the guy ropes of my heart 

hold while I listen to this waterfall 

of music flowing from harp strings

and a voice that ripples like liquid 

crystal in the canvas dome. A cascade

of ballads that takes me back

to my father, after Sunday Mass singing

hand on heart I’ll take you home Kathleen.

I wait in limbo for him to magic

my mother’s bashful smile, her hands 

behind her back tying her apron.

If he were here now, he’d be in heaven.

Just a Cut and Colour

Back from the basin, cloaked in black

she sips a latte, flicks fabulous frocks 

to bubbles of chatter and the purr 

of a Parlux. He approaches from behind

his scissor holster hanging low on his hips

smiles-same as last time? He straddles

the saddle stool, circles her slowly 

slicing fingerfuls of freshly coloured hair

gives her back the body she wants.

He nibbles next her earlobes, presses her

head firmly forward and shaves the nape

of her neck, stretches strands 

seeking symmetry. He unclips her cloak 

sweeps her bare throat. Holds the moon

mirror firm. At the desk she says yes

six weeks, just a cut and colour 

then opensher arms as he holds 

the shoulders of her winter coat. 

About the contributor

Rosa O’Kane is an emerging poet who was born and grew up in Northern Ireland. Her poem Hydrography of the Heart was a commended entry in The Hippocrates Prize 2014. She has been shortlisted for the A.C.U poetry prize in 2018 and 2019. Her poems have been published in the Canberra Times, and Not Very Quiet on-line journal. Rosa now lives in Canberra-where she works as a G.P.

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