Shards Picked From Memory Poem by Sheena Blackhall

Shards Picked From Memory

A cornfield opening to the summer wind
Brow to brow with a Clydesdale, breathing in its sweat
The ticking of my parents many clocks
An empty lap, the pain of losing a pet

A gecko soft shoe shuffling up a temple wall
That hare, dead on the road, bright eyes gouged by crows
Slug spit along the sliver of a holly leaf
That rhododendron bush that grows and grows

Red Admiral opening her fan on a black poppy
A host of birch trees holding up the sun
Harvest barley whispering to the woodlands
My infant son who smelt like a toaste bun

A lover's touch, by moonlight, in a hayloft
Two purple clouds that streaked Sri Lankan skies
The metronome that conducted my piano scales
A calf being herded to slaughter, its terrified cries

One snowing day that quilted downy dykes
Ophelia floating on her water bed
The door that opened out to empty air
Walking through Auschwitz over the ash of the dead

A free range hen that pecked me, protecting eggs
A ploughed field after rain, glinting like gems
A blue balloon that skimmed a roller coaster
Mother stitching up my home made hems

The shroud of sand that buried a toy boat
When hope like a beanbag suddenly hit the deck
Thin curtains billowing out like pregnant girls
Sour Christmas, a clammy turkey's throttled neck
Sycamore seeds that twirled down like spitfires
Answering the phone to a dead aunt's urgent voice
Autumn rusting on creaking hinge
The night death gripped my father in its vice

Childhood swinging high to touch a cloud
That huge Canadian robin in its xxx ketchup vest
When lust like a clogged pipe mortified the flesh
That snake bite I drank in my teens. Such zing. Such zest

A tower in Toronto, shining like top notch dentures
When I knew that I was the luggage that carried the family genes
Parsley, sage, rosemary, elderflower and thyme
The day that pupil went gaga, smashing my tambourine

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