Poetry

‘Roman de la poire’ and other poems

By: Charlotte Cosgrove

Roman de la poire

The first time the heart
came out of the body
As a token
It was cradled
In the hands of man
Gifting his affection
With a pear.
He must
Have been sweating
Longing for
The sumptuousness
Of the fruit.
For her to take
A bite.
Peel the skin
With her teeth
Spit it
Sideways.
Offer him back
His fruit
Naked, dribbling.
And him,
Unsure
How to take it.

###

Grief

It is far more unexpected than waves.
It lies dormant but alert.
It is the disc that is threatening to slip,
The anaesthetic that is about to wear off.
One simple movement that creates spasms.
It is a sepulchrum prism and you
Are woven deep inside – cavernous
You cannot see the light refracting outside.
You search for an exit, until you give up
And have to sit
In the midst of it all.

###

Secret Shame

I dropped a sanitary towel
Once.
Fresh in its packet, green and square.
The sticky white tab keeping it all together,
A gift.
It sat on the floor between the rows of desks at my side.
Everyone had their heads down,
Thank God,
Calculating the area of shapes.
It was so obviously mine,
Lying beside me and a girl who hadn’t started yet –
We so obviously knew those things.
I could feel my face and neck redden.
I slid it towards me with my shoe,
Secured it in the bottom of my bag.
I looked around, everyone’s heads were still down,
Thank the Lord.
I couldn’t possibly have everyone knowing
How abnormal
I was.

###

Floating Shelves

The noughties arrived with magical wood on the walls.
I was dazzled.
A perfect straight line, a scar on the wall –
Still healing, raised.
Hidden hinges, magic architecture.
My parents bought one, erected it in their bedroom.
Three candles, spaced out –
Not daring to touch each other,
A synchronised backing band,
Sleeping on driftwood.
They had a spare, and gave it to me.
Over time I tested it, tried to quantify its greatness.
Boxes were piled and filled
Up to the ceiling. From the bed I threw objects
Like basketballs towards them.
Eventually they poked out at different angles,
Peeked at me. Worms rising from the soil.
Until one day it lay fallen
Shapeshifting into a raised floorboard.
The boxes spewed their belongings
And it occurred to me, with a shiver,
I hadn’t heard the thud.

###

The Waiting Generation

I imagine my parents when I was a child
Going to visit someone and not having a clue
If they were going to be in. Jumping
On buses and trains, walking
To far places in the hope that somebody
Would answer. Pilgrimaging to shops
On Sundays, unsure of the opening times.
Standing outside waiting for 11am.
Booking Spanish holidays off the teletext.
No phones or internet. Research meant
Going to the library. Talking
On landlines with cords
Unfurling and cascading on shoulders
Like a descending spiral staircase.
You all waited for taxis to turn up
At a rank. The sex of your babies –
A surprise. Programmes circled
In the TV guide for later.
Your children wait for nothing, they want it all
And they want it now.

###

Your Time of Year

It is the way the light hits the floor that stops me.
Unblinkingly lighting the wood.
I can hear the birds outside – magpies
That just won’t shut up. And it dawns on me
That this is the time of year,
The time of day that is you.
You would still go to the park
At this time. 3pm at the end of May.
Everyone else was packing up to leave,
But you knew that at this time
The birds would be louder, insects
Less hidden. And as I see this
Chink of light on the floorboard
I think you are with them now,
Somewhere in the air.

###

Charlotte Cosgrove is a poet and English teacher from Liverpool, England. She has work forthcoming in Beyond Words and Dreich, as well as published work in Trouvaille Review. She has BA and MA degrees in English and Writing

Categories: Poetry

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