BellaOnline Literary Review

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Soup and Lasagne

Lisa Reily

Silver shelves rusted to the ceiling,
boxes stacked with games we once played:
Kerplunk, Monopoly and Sugar Land;
my brother’s red skateboard hangs from a coat hook,
his bike thick with mud on the concrete wall.

Our plastic Christmas tree, its branches bound,
the smell of dust on its artificial leaves;
Mum’s old blue suitcase full of decorations,
the small glass birds with feathered tails
brought from Poland more than forty years ago.

I walk the stairs of her home in the dark,
go to the kitchen window and look out to her garden;
the quiet trees know me, but their leaves are still.
They watch me through the glass; a tortoise
in an aquarium, mouthing words, unable to speak.

Feathered scrapbooks of birthday cards, their pages
like the happy cups of tea spilt on her cream tablecloth;
the small, incompetent bar fridge still packed with lemonade,
but only for special occasions; the freezer full of soup,
her lasagne and chicken curry, two years after she’s gone.

I open her sewing box full of old buttons—kept just in case—
that once held her favorite porcelain mug and saucer.
On the wall, a bright red dog’s leash waits for her
and the cheery little dog that is long gone;
I make a cup of tea and wait, but she is not coming.

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