Written by Anne Pia
My Mother’s Rosary
my nightmares play on repeat
sequence follows sequence
stain these fresh walls
a silent wilderness freezes on white geometry.
I leak secrets in sweat
am grateful for steady breath,
sound landmarks towards north…journeying still,
and in my palm finally
I clench a greening crucifix, mould and metal;
yellowed beads drop one by one through frail fingers,
each and every one defiant at
this craving to catch my mother’s smell.
Another siren splits clagging air.
Love Letters in Lockdown
In the last days of a world we thought was solid
massing of dark cloud, warrior winds summoning strength,
Corona settled, we cowered, made ourselves invisible,
and in the void
there was only the nearness of our own breath
of reality collapsed to window frames
the stillness of trees, as we all waited.
Somewhere along the rim of consciousness
there was the thought of ending,
the day I would delete you my old friend, from my phone
you no longer walking those sands I promised to visit,
or those wild flowered fields down by the river,
or like the well-loved notes of a much played tune,
finding myself speaking your words, spoken in a distant memory,
singing your song, as I speed along a motorway.
Then through the small, careful steps of day after day,
of small discoveries,
of dancing with strangers around corners,
the unaccustomed smile of a neighbour
that brought tears,
opening a front door wide to the unknown,
dismantling a home delivery,
like a forgotten war bomb,
on small screens, you became larger,
in unfamiliar alphabets
we evolved a new language;
and we learned to walk new leylines
learned a new geography of human,
of friendship and worth.
We laid foundations afresh.
Lessons in Coffee
my prosaic kitchen is the set stage of a Glass opera
replacing green-tiled, brutal style coffee shops
entombed now in plywood , drawbridge well shut
its lean anatomy is rearranged;
crumbs of love in coffee beans,
shallow breathing from a sleek Moka machine,
and out of sober, white bags,
sought after treasures from a Portobello bakery,
the slow rise of sweet scones,
dimpled dough basking in spring sunshine,
fattening on my windowsill,
earth scents of confettied rosemary,
whirlpools of olive oil,
rich crackle of crusting in an ample oven.
Amid the starkness of masks somewhere on the outside
beyond the trees and unused road,
with yeast, godlike particles,
I plough fresh tracks in flour,
pour out warmth in water.
I live a new innocence.
Don’t ask me for words
words won’t suffice,
can’t speak for me…
give no comfort
ask too much.
I wrap myself in a blanket
working strings and bow…
seeking only small solutions.
In the late morning from sturdy sound structures,
I drift to the unknown …
in Higdon and Auerbach…
in the mythic fantasies of a Hebridean fiddle.
My rough-laid shelf,
is made of splinters..smoked salmon in a Tesco bag,
a first latte after lockdown, Wednesday tunes, zoom with friends,
or by a lake cooking sausages together, amidst Bay-leaved willows,
a neat stove, three laughing swimmers and the chatter of rain,
soft needles on a crater of glass.
My cold computer screen
reminds me I cannot reach my daughters’ warmth,
I review photographs of that other time,
the wood strains against the force, fails,
no match for tears
or the fucking rage.
Bring back the masquerades and the make-up
I am a self I do not recognise
where have I gone?
Anne Pia is based in Edinburgh, and is a language graduate with a Doctorate in Education. Her interests include language, dialogue, and identity.
Her memoir Language of My Choosing was shortlisted for the Saltire First Book of the Year 2017 and won the Premio Flaiano Linguistica 2018.
Transitory, her first poetry collection, was published in April, 2018.
Anne’s writing has appeared in Northwards Now, Poetry Scotland, New Voices Press, Southbank Poetry London, The Blue Nib.