Two Poems: Flora Leask

Flora Leask | 17 October 2018

 

 

Gemma

 

Gemma was born with smoke pouring out her ears
She emerged into the world on a tantrum
At 250 miles per her mother’s tears –
Made all the doctors stitching her back up
Revaluate their whole careers

Gemma was a danger – hell girl, frog’s spawn
As her mama quickly found out
The painful day that she was born
And the next day, month, year, after that.
As a terrible two year old she was drawn

To catching, then drowning, flies in honey
And then just swallowing them whole
Oh, Gemma found it so very funny
To see her mama kneel and cry
Laughing till her nose was runny

Mama, eyes permanently bloodshot,
Was in despair, and went for help
Doc said “Strap your baby in her cot
Administer pills twice a day.
I assure you Misses, with these she’ll not

Be awake enough to bother you.”
Poor mama took the bottle home
To see Gemma making her way through
A box of matches, striking one by one,
Then crushing the flames out with her shoe

Pills in hand, she comes from behind
(Gemma’s too busy to see her still)
She prays to God, to Allah, and all their kind
But no answers heard because behold!
Wee Gemma’s head begins to wind

Exorcist style, a full 360 degree turn
Eyes blazing yellow, green, red, and black
The room heats up, sofa starts to burn
As the little one slides out her tongue
Which becomes a snake! A cause for concern –

Her mama thinks, who, trembling, still goes bold
Pills in hand, she avoids the sofa’s ashes
And does her best to shout loud and cold
“GEMMA DON’T YOU EVER DARE STICK YOUR TONGUE
OUT AT ME, HUNDRED TIMES THAT YOU’VE BEEN TOLD!”

“Anyway, Mama’s got something for you, treasure
A little dose of medicine
For when you feel…under the weather
All you need to do is take
Just a little pill, a teeny measure”

Gemma, the treasure, the darling one,
Squats down in the living room
Pisses on the carpet, then when she’s done
Kicks and stomps
Because she’s having fun

Her mama then knows that not ever
In her wildest dreams of parenting
Will anything ever be forced on Gemma
That the wee girl does not allow
Which, now, creates quite a dilemma

If only the father of this bloody changeling
Stuck around, it wouldn’t be so hard
She even forgot his name, sounded kinda Asian
The guy was called something like – Saytan?
Well, she takes another look at the medication...

Unscrews the cap, lifts it to her lips….
Tips her head back, trembling, and down they go
Last thing she sees before a vision eclipse
Is Gemma’s hair turning into snakes
Her feeding them flies like they are chips –

But! What’s this? The noise around her is fading,
The whispers and the smell of smoke
Gemma’s hair shrinks, is quickly changing
Her tongue slithers back inside her mouth
She looks, almost, like a small girl trying

To wake her mama up, and pull from her hand
Something square gripped very tightly
A box of matches? Cook’s own brand
That can’t be right. Mama feels very strange
Outside her body she sees herself stand

Motionless, picture-like, by the door
Her eyes look glassy in her head and cheeks an awful shade of red,
She drops the matches to the floor…
And wakes from a spell she didn’t know she was under
She’ll think about that later, but not before
She scoops up Gemma and holds her tight
Doesn’t know much but knows for sure…
She loves her.

 

 

 

Sunday Morning

 

Sitting at the dripping window I was thinking about that
Salacious dream last night while
A red petal fell from the
Red rose that came from the
Garden that my father grew when we moved to this place

Cutting the fat from an apple I was slowly thinking that
I should start packing to leave while
A red drop fell from the
Knife which was stuck in the
Hand that this place grew when we moved here with my father

 

 

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