Pandora, Catherine Edwards

These poems are inspired by the evils, which escaped from Pandora’s Box into the world and into our lives creating chaos: ‘Secrets’ (death), ‘Ten Fingers Ten Toes’ (passion), ‘Today’ (illness), ‘We are the Same’ (hatred), ‘Battle of Caffa’ (war) ‘Famine’ (famine), and of course, ‘Clay Figure’ is based around Pandora’s creation

 

Clay Figure

she opens her eyes

crafted of clay, water smooth, shapely
body
earth made, for mankind
blood pumps warm veins

brown clay, thick lifeless.
I study the edges of the cube,
size, feel the weight
in my rough hands

dip the tips of my
fingers in warm water
gently rubbing my
moist hands over the
smooth grains of the
dry, crackling clay

I grip the handle
of the sharp scalpel
slicing her soft silhouette
she begins to grow

clay dries on hands
filling the groves of
tree ring fingerprints
lines on palms
I become a part of her creation

I am gentle with her,
lightly I stroke the clay

I must be patient, precise
knuckles rocking gentle on the clay
shaping her hips, breasts
The curve of my index finger marks her
eyes, lips

I place the small figure
in the heart of the fire
a volcano, turning mud
into rock, into vitreous
burning her into life

she takes a breath
raises her chin, eyes flicker across her
body
feels the curve of her narrow chin

beauty, beyond imagination
grace desire
cunning as a deceitful crow
vixen defiant
crafts defining femininity
weave sow

Curiosity

I place a gilded box in her slender arms
a white veiled bride
a gift to man
she takes a breath

ghosts seep into the world, creating chaos

 

 

Secrets

She whispers a secret she knows he
can answer

he watches, through purple shadowed-eyes,
as naked branches bare fruit,
he seeks the blushing Corella
deep lines dig out a map,
upon his palm.
blue eyes illuminate
wrinkled white-paper skin

He takes her on bushwalks
she demands her pink gumboots
he watches her squeeze
the blossoming wattle buds
in her tiny hands
sniffing the yellow cotton
expecting a delicious scent
she sneezes twice and
continues on her way

He puts a finger to his lips and points to the
old weeping willow
out of place among the squiggly gums
a fat green tree frog with a white, puffed out
belly
suctions his toes to the slippery leaves
she giggles at its throbbing throat

He prunes his Cleopatra roses
rubbing his fingers on each velvet petal
he opens the deep folded layers
she is impatient to see inside the closed bud
slips her button nose in the rose petals and
sneezes twice

black and red rubber snakes
litter his garden, strategically placed
a metal cage made of wire and wood
armed and ready, he watches on like a child
to scare or catch Myna birds, he doesn’t mind

Balancing on the balls
of her purple polished shoes,
his soft chestnut ear hair flutters
against her dry lips
the hem of her black dress has been dipped in
mud.

Curious eyes painted on her porcelain face
trace the stiff curves of the dead tree
the piano breathes
a final note

She whispers a secret she knows he cannot
answer
open your eyes Grandpa, what do you see?

 

 

Ten Fingers Ten Toes

I
I rest my head in the crook of your neck
your breath warms the night chill
my cheek feels the slow pound of a heart
that is not mine
my fingers twist through black chest hair
I trace the velvet hairs that cover your pink
ears
they tickle the groves of my fingertips
I stifle a giggle,
scratch the rough edges of your shadowing
stubble
you lift your chin arching your neck

white lace curtains flutter against the
windowsill
light swims across the room, like ripples in
water
I tangle my feet within the sheepskin rug

Lick the curve of your jaw
slip my tongue between your wet lips
I stroke your pale torso, muscles tense
under my light touch
drink in your greedy grin

II
In the deep folds of my flesh and bones
I can feel her grow
I know her
before she takes a breath
before she opens her eyes
before she meets her father
the small life is already a part of me
she hides in the darkness of my ribs
among the bone cradling arms of my body

III
Pools of blood leak into white linen
cramps contort toes, spreading down my thighs
jaw clenches, teeth grind together
blonde hair drips salty sweat
violet nails dig deeper into palms

A single cry in a blanket of white silence

She is saturated in my blood outside
and in

IV
The sky blue water is calm
bubbles break the clear surface
light reflects green and brown
Her small hand rests in mine

Grains of sand sear our feet
soft and tender from winter
we climb the dune digging in our toes
the hot air dries our skin, thick in our lungs

Rainbow frills cover her swimmers
they sparkle in the rising sun
white wide-brimmed hat shadows her
small face, brown eyes cast down
I rest her warm body on my hip,
auburn hair swings at her shoulders,
she cuddles her face into my neck

She points a stubby finger to the sea,
‘Mumma, bath time now?’

 

 

 

Today

Yesterday
He makes friends,
at the beginning of year seven.
I watch him take his school to state,
for throwing the furthest discus.
He pulls apart motorbikes,
puts them back together

Now
The anesthetists have put
him under twenty-four times.
They take tests, from his bone marrow.
Stick tubes down his jugular.
Poison is the only cure
only hope

Yesterday
He camped at Brogans Creek
scaling thick branched fig trees
clinging to smooth limbs, sweating fingers slipping.
Caught tadpoles in plastic bottles, laughed at their wiggling tails
Felt the burn of a campfire on his face,
the familiar smell of musty smoke and aerogard
Listen to the rain, fall on the tight canvas roof

Now
His tissue paper skin bloated, stretched
His favorite drink makes him nauseous
Dead strands of straw-like hair cling to
a sunburnt pealing scalp
His bed a prison, confined and locked

Yesterday
He stands knee deep in salty water, calves tense
his feet grip smooth pebbles
The tip of his finger tightly pressing the cord of his fishing line,
waiting for a small tug, a nibble
He flicks the rod back, frantically reels the line
Thrashing on the hook is a mangrove jack

Now
Dad cries for the first time
We visit him in a bed with labels and
stained sheets.
Like a black shadow disease will follow
him for the rest of his life

 

 

We Are The Same

                             we celebrate with lamb roast
they are appointed by the people
we are born into privilege
collecting tears with mothers fingertips
now we are seen by all
free speech and choices to control
no concern for forgotten land
loud voices heard over crowds
I have an advanced education
we have life
bright blue skies open horizons
eyes open to technology
we are tucked up in silk sheets
we are safe during the night
born in Chicago
with a water view apartment
adored by eyes of parents
I have no responsibility
young girls have cul de sacs to play in
small pale faces laugh with glee
gently wash skin with lavender soap
watch as I change my future
I was a lawyer like my father
given names identities
the world is a small place
gave me a Barbie Dream House
soundless sleep sweet dreams
surrounded by digital beeps
governed by selfish power
teddies softer than clouds
red lipstick makeup on child pageant queens
painted clown faces
meet brothers for a big brunch
family wedding fight over cost
forced lollies, lick, suck cavity
free medicine for everyone
we
                                      have
                                      eyes
                                      arms
                                      toes
we are the same we are different
we are the same we are different
we are the same we are different
we are the same we are different
we are the same we are different
we are the same we are different
different

                             we eat scraps with dogs
they are cruel powerful dictators
we are born innocent privilege
tears collect with leaking blood
no one sees us
silenced choices no control
no connections to justice
silenced voices lost in crowds
I wish for an education
we have to hope for life
deserted brown dilapidated land
clouded eyes weeping
we are stolen from our beds
we are afraid of nightfall
born in Uganda
with eager hunting rebels
taken from eyes of our parents
I feed the little ones
young girls have been raped forced sex slaves
small black faces watch in terror
skin whipped torn from flesh
I have no future
I was a fisherman like my father
given a green and grey uniform
not an important world issue
gave me a gun to kill friends, neighbors
terrified sleep abducted from homes
surrounded by child soldiers
governed by threats and dictators
bodies don’t belong to the soul
mutilated scars burning skin
thousand faces with empty eyes
meet brothers again in heaven
we murder our parents
forced to fight in the LRA
addicted to drugs trapped in this place forever
                                        we
                                        have
                                        eyes
                                        arms
                                        toes
we are the same we are different
we are the same we are different
we are the same we are different
we are the same we are different
we are the same we are different
we are the same we are different
                                        different

 

 

Battle of Caffa
1345

Battlefields make me giddy
I soar through bright skies
humans sweeter than any meal
specks scattered in vast landscapes
vibrating call, screeches across open skies
wings beat in unison

Smoke clogs the air
flames burn dried grass
black eyes twitch, searching
mesmerizing metal, flickers in light
guttural, chocking noises escape
creatures wide-eyed withering faces
sticky liquid saturates soft feathers

the first feats
the scent is sour
rip juicy bubbling bumps
marks left by other feasting animals
they burrow through hair and skin
latching on deeper sucking harder
delicious blood
I use my beak to tear through weak flesh
I peck brittle bones

White cloth wrapped around human mouths
they leave me to my feast
I watch the creatures
they lift my meals into their contraptions
they fly like us over stonewalls

 

 

Famine

Hollow brown stick thin limbs
Hang from a stone-like belly
A final whimper
Mothers milk dried to powder
In weeping eyes lay maggots
Mother cradles empty blankets
Her child cradled by soil and earth

Catherine Edwards

Catherine Edwards is currently completing a Bachelor of Arts in Media and majoring in Writing at Macquarie University. She is presently taking part in an internship at Hachette Children’s Books, an Australian based publishing company. Where she has discovered her love for Picture Books and Children’s novels. Her Poetry has been published in the Macquarie Magazine, Grapeshot. She wants to help develop great Australian fiction writing into the world.

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