Years

and so much life – years full as the sky
in a Dark August. I wish that words
could rain from my hands too, but they never come out.

But my sister is more beautiful; she is the yellow room
Set against thundery skies. Even when we were small,
She was Snow White to my Rose Red.

She is running down a road, spinning pirouettes,
skilled in the sorcery of our mothers. Even as the seasons fall,
lit leaves in a smoky wood,

she holds out her hand to me.
Does she know I love her, but I am hopeless
at growing straight, like a beanstalk? Because I am learning slowly

that our building blocks, our puzzle pieces
click together in mechanical harmony, are a
perfect fit despite their asymmetry;

so when we meet, my sister,
your life spun into gold
as I try to stamp you to a page,

all is not as it was, but all is well
(you see, we can no longer be the same
by dressing in stripes) because
photographs are clearer than mirrors
and stormy grey Augusts
suit bright April skies.

 

 

Birds

Once, when I was four,
and out with my grandmother, I was
entranced by the birds. They were tiny thumbtacks
stuck to the purple sky, dwarfed by the salty crashes
slapping away the walkway by the beach.

Like a gull pinned against a dark expanse, my grandmother
is a small bird in her bed. Finely boned,
her head nods gently. Her eyes are bright.
My grandfather stands beside her, upright as a heron perched on broken edges,
on the rocks curled about the tide.

She is paused mid-flight, but soon she’ll rise
in a gentle flurry, like those birds
that only seemed stuck, but glide –
that I’m remembering now in swells and ebbs.

 

 

Lauren Strain (London, UK) is from Auckland, NZ. She likes seconds.