Rose Mary Boehm, is a German-born UK national, currently living in Lima, Peru. Author of TANGENTS, published in the UK in 2011, her work has appeared widely in US poetry journals; twice winner of the Goodreads monthly poetry competition, her latest poetry collection is about to be published in the US.
I have held nobody’s hand,
didn’t listen to any last, labored breathing,
did not sit on plastic-covered chairs
in the hospital ward of last resort.
I have not been a witness.
Death has touched me only from afar,
took some figures off the board,
left some holes in the fabric
of my life, blanked out colors, drew
misty curtains over faces, made me
an accomplice to murder: there were
the goldfish that froze in the pond,
the hibernating hamsters buried
in the back of the garden.
The others talk about death. How they
held their father’s hand. Hard of crying.
How their Mother smiled one last smile
when they saw who it was, who’d come
from far away to accompany them
on that last stretch.
How their sister, brother took
their last breath in their arms, how their lover
walked away, collar up against
the night air, how their dog
expired under the lorry,
how the dead cat came
home in a box. Some ‘lost’ their
children to the unforeseen, others
watched their comrades explode
before their very eyes, there are those
who buried husbands or wives. Death
has touched all lives.
You get to your afterlife and God
has gone AWOL – visiting his friends
downstairs. Nobody cooks for anybody,
the angels are worn out, thin
and grey. Even the clouds look shabby.
The harps have lost their strings.
You get to your afterlife perhaps
and you find out why you were on earth
in the first place. Could be that there was
a gas leak in heaven and some souls
had to be evacuated, losing their wings
while they waited to be recalled.
Angel Administrativo had lost the
little green book in which your name
was written. In the kitchens
they steamed it as green veg.
You get to the afterlife and realize
that you never left at all. You were
dreaming again, and that car crash
woke you up. You wonder what happened
to all the others who pretended there-ness.
You get to your afterlife. The windows
are barred, gardens overgrown, an
undernourished dog with matted pelt
lies panting under a rotting porch.
You call. There’s only an echo.
Big, bigger – food
The famous cook has become
even fatter during the years
On a huge screen,
in glorious close-up, his hands dip
into yet another bowl. They pull out
a white, succulent piece of what
he informs his faithful viewers
is lobster meat – covered in a sauce
… divine. His eyes roll back.
Peru’s annual food fair.
70 food carts,
16 rustic kitchens,
regional cooking stations,
plenty of beverages.
long black nails,
to the wire fence.