Siren Song of My MotherThe siren song of my mother calls me;
her long notes pierce the unfocused night.
I am weighted, but pulled towards the sea.
Slices of waves jewelled under lunar light
shine, before clouds shroud her as I begin to swim.
Riding the waves the music brings calm;
I want to sit with her, limb touching limb,
as sea salt stiffens the hairs on my arms.
Separated by birth and then by time
I need her to encircle my whole being:
I want to know that I was hers and she was mine.
Yet the song that she keeps on singing
is all melody and vowels now, no words.
I see only sharp shadow rocks, not her.
Hare MotherLast year’s snow
turned your hair pure white.
A winter of wild words:
bitch, trapped, wasted.
His sharp preying eyes had you hiding,
almost glad when he went on the prowl.
Cunning Arctic hare mother you dispersed your litter;
your fully-furred leverets took their scent beyond his range.
Now, new winter, he’s still searching
you still yourself – hope holds you frozen.
Yet he’s watching you, waiting,
won’t just let you go.
You tell yourself they don’t need you.
Then you run.
Apple CrumbleShe taught you not to be scared of maggots
or softening brown bruises dotted with mould,
together you chopped green-white apple chunks
on thick wooden boards,
watched scales gently tipping to accuracy.
She put the smell of rubbing-in, in your memory.
She taught you patience
as together you waited for juices to bubble
sugar to melt
edges to brown.
You learned the joy of anticipation
when you both loaded your spoons
with claggy crumble coated in custard
and, smiling, paused
before the eating began.
And now you dream
of portioning her ashes
spooning them into matchboxes
ready to sprinkle her on the beach at low tide
under lavender bushes in the park,
amongst the bread thrown for birds.
You wake crying at the thought of
strange grey lily-pads on the pond.
Fish DinnerAt first
he’s an extra branch on the log
eyes sung shut
by the water’s repeating lullaby;
his dream too good to break.
When his nostrils flick open
I think it is my scent
that has pressed the switch.
Flex of nose forces eyes forward
awake now and looking, he sees.
Grey sky darkens,
a man stands ready with a bucket of fish,
bullets of rain wound the pool.
The glass is suddenly too thin.
I dread the teeth but do not move.
Other otters come to blur the picture
their sudden hunger
filling the space between him and me.
Tossed fish hold balletic body shapes in the air
before being rawly razored in the tightest of grips.
I see my mother
attacking dab fins in the kitchen,
1977, Silver Jubilee Year
dumping them in flour.
She will fry them fiercely
a few minutes on each side
while she thumps the lumps out of mashed potato.
Fish feast over, the otters plunge into the water.
The rain flattens my hair.
Sue Finch @soopoftheday lives with her wife in North Wales. She likes all kinds of coasts, peculiar things and the scent of ice-cream freezers. Her first collection ‘Magnifying Glass’ is now available from Black Eyes Publishing UK. Twitter: @BlackEyesPubUK
Magnifying Glass will be launched on Oct. 17, 2020 Full details of @soopoftheday’s launch, a free, ticketed event is available at the link below: Sue will be reading with guest poets @AnnaSaund1
@nellivory @georgi_gill. Info on the reading through Facebook at: https://t.co/7OVq1QTK9x
More info about the launch from Black Eyes Publishing at https://t.co/fOEjVwvIyB
Banner: Trophic, a digital painting by Robert Frede Kenter. Tweets: @frede_kenter