Spring 2018

2018

2017

Three poems

By Anuja Mitra

Kevin Rabalais
© Kevin Rabalais

Hearing the Ice Cream Truck

*

My friend’s flat is strung

with all the souvenirs of living:

birthday cards hanging from the fridge,

blurry shopping lists in her childlike script,

a lesser-known Penguin with spots of rust.

One day we’ll make choices without doubt;

we tell ourselves, as if telling makes us wise.

One day we’ll master this domestic wilderness

where we still call our mothers before the handyman,

one day we’ll have our own minds

and terraces to house them in —

even if we do still look up

at the sound of the ice cream truck,

even if it still echoes like all the places

we cannot go back, now we are

irreparably older.

*

Pompeian House

*

You said once you wanted a Pompeian house,

all atrium and vestibulum,

all colours so vivid

they take their fists to time.

But what does it matter?

No one paints to survive

that kind of ruin.

You tell me things that happened to you

like they’re from someone else’s life;

like you could deny the brambles,

as if the flesh forgot.

As if you might find home

in every outstretched hand,

in boys who hid their cruelty

where daylight didn’t remember.

But you did.

You remembered the way

dirt remembers a rainless season;

something ruthless about you cutting

through life on the smoke of those

who razed you.

I saw the smoke

on the bus that day,

how it sealed you into the morning

and left only fragments —

an arched brow, a pale wrist,

your laugh with that prefix of hesitance.

One day archaeologists will dig up

our things and put them in museums,

and write articles, and give lectures,

and theorise about you

and your Pompeian house.

*

Invocation

*

Tell me nothing

on the boardwalk,

legs over the beckoning shallows.

Better yet, tell me what we think

we’re grieving, cased in classrooms

with the months falling around us

and shaping our arms out to whoever will listen.

Tell me this restlessness we have

no right to feel, not an at home bone

in the home of our bodies.

Tell me about time,

about the autumns we tried

to make stay in spite of the years

that lurched on; trailing ghosts.

Speak with me the morning,

from its first idea to this

fine dissolution, summer

waving in the air.

About Anuja Mitra

Anuja Mitra is a Law/Arts student who would generally rather be writing. Her work was featured in the National Library exhibition 'The Next Word: Contemporary New Zealand Poetry' and can also be found in Mayhem, Signals, Starling and Sweet Mammalian. She is co-founder of the new online magazine Oscen at oscen.co and enjoys procrastinating in bookstores, eating mint ice cream and petting her small colony of cats.