Two Poems by Petra White

AUTUMN LEAVES

.

He filled my stone cold flat with Autumn leaves.

It was a gesture of love –

or so I thought as I trudged

from table to kettle

knee deep in a crunching swish.

He whispered that I should imagine

I was striding through the air of childhood,

the papery brown leaves

whipping up into fresh cold sky,

my mittened hands, ice cheeks,

as if our innocence started and ended there

and the leaves were its fossils.

As for our love, I can’t remember it so well –

it started and finished somewhere,

something was torn and repaired –

I cannot see the scar.

Love went nowhere but into itself,

where it held on

like a precious fish in a tank,

sunk deep in a dream of innocence.

We lay on a soft green hill

near the cemetery,

his golden curls, my young breasts pointing to the sky

like little pink towers

under clouds more robust than we –

a leaf caressed me

shyly as a hand turning away.

.

.

.

.

.

 

 

THE OCEAN

 

This pale, ongoing ocean, silent at her door,

a bow-legged dog brings its fragrance in.

Sitting in time as in a room, small likes and dislikes,

brushstrokes that make up the self,

borne steadily for decades from one room to the next,

as if liking mustard on steak gave her a soul

or disliking oysters something to say.

A stillness in her like that of the sea,

when it settles on the shore of itself and waits.

A friend flitters out of the cold sea mist.

Someone who will remember her

liking raspberry jam

on perfectly still April mornings.

About the contributor

Petra White
Petra White is an Australian poet residing in London. She has published four collections, most recently Reading for a Quiet Morning (GloriaSMH Press 2017), and was joint winner of the Grace Leven Prize for Poetry (2010). Her recent work appears in PN Review and Shearsman, and is forthcoming in The Poetry Review.

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