Rose Mary Boehm is a German-born British national living and writing in Lima, Peru, and author of two novels as well as seven poetry collections. Her poetry has been published widely in mostly US poetry reviews (online and print). She was twice nominated for a Pushcart. Her latest: DO OCEANS HAVE UNDERWATER BORDERS? (Kelsay Books July 2022), WHISTLING IN THE DARK (Ciberwit July 2022), and SAUDADE (December 2022) are available on Amazon. https://www.rose-mary-boehm-poet.com/
There was blood on the white spaces. Your
fingerprints. Your teeth marks in the soft
flesh of the blue mare’s neck. Her flanks
twitching in the agony of death.
We have it all on tape. Green shadows, green moon.
You came out from the underbrush, furtive.
Shifty. Unsure. You didn’t? Where have
I heard that before. This modesty moves me.
No intent, you say. You’d lost what?
I suggest you lost your nerve. We filmed
the incident. Someone was there. The
still water heavy and leaden. Until
you took off your shoes and waded
into the dark liquid. Didn’t know what
you moved. Had no idea what would
be the result of such careless action.
You are holding her. Whispering
into her ear. She didn’t shake you,
just caressed the top of your head,
willing. You are a poet? You admit it.
Another one for the chop.
My cousin became Hussain’s wife and wore a sari. A black&white
photo had arrived from London where they sat, broomstick like,
on high-backed chairs in a dark, rented room somewhere
at the back of Tottenham Court Road. The windows draped
with net curtains. Mother sent me to find out more. My cousin’s
pale skin in silks Marco Polo would have brought back to Venice.
She looked ashen in fabrics meant for skin baked in subtropical
sun. Eid al-Fitr. We celebrated the end of Ramadan in Wandsworth,
watching carload after carload spill the most elaborate creations.
I gaped at the multitude of skin shades, turbans, voluminous
tie-dye fabrics, hijabs… I tried the baklava.
I married Demetrios, son of Ariston. Not exactly a religious man
but still convinced that God won’t find the pieces if they burn you.
Well, that’s at least the stance of the church he didn’t attend—
or only on holy days. And then there’s circumcision. That’s a Muslim thing.
Perhaps God can’t find the bits of skin? Theía Panagió̱ta, sixty, tall, large,
with long, pointed, blood-red fingernails, danced that night to the sounds
of the old Ottoman Empire and knew that she was all woman.
They had bought cheap plates, as one does.
The story of forgetting
She had the makings of a wife.
Since she was small she dreamed to wed
the boy who lived at number five,
who’d peed on mother’s flower bed.
They both grew up, had things to do.
She never quite forgot that boy,
but life took over. Yet she knew
that nothing quite could match the joy
she’d felt when Jas had kissed her
below the willow by the beck
and ‘hope to die’ he said, he’d miss her.
He held her hand, he stroked her neck.
Preparing for the feast she hurried
put on her lipstick, grinned and sighed.
She’d been so sure then they would marry,
instead it was their sweet goodbye.
They sit together in the care home,
inseparable since they came.
She calls him Jas, he calls her Sea Foam.
She smiles and slips into her name.