Out of the frame is the baby.
Beyond the door is the sea.
Its white noise is not working.
The black out is not working.
The mother is not in the frame.
She brings him to her breast.
She rests her head on the sill.
Her head part goes to sleep.
The mother’s body, like a whale’s
mind, half insentient, half on
depth watch. The milk draws
blue and baby sleep.s.
Here in the painting is a man.
At four he sends her back.
Her neck clicks in the pillow.
The baby whistles awake.
Though it is full and fully burped.
The mother jolts and palpitates.
She begins to rise. But the father.
The father is in the picture.
On a chair, hardly, dressed, barely, under
damp green light, he shifts from buttock
to buttock, pumping and pressing
the red piano accordion.
Tendrils sling off the lampshade,
sea grass hums. A harmonic
vamp of frond and must and
tears become his cheek.
Her fingers free the water –
His fingers free the wind –
breath is the chord is the base tone
small pod of falling whales.
Nicola Easthope is a poet, reader, teacher, partner and Mum, living on the Kāpiti Coast. She is a champion of children, teenagers, and activism for a more just, green and peaceful world. Her forthcoming collection, Working the tang (The Cuba Press), includes explorations of her ancestral roots (Orkney Islands, Scotland, Wales and England), the life of oceans in between there and here, and what it means to be Pākehā supporting Te Tiriti o Waitangi, in Aotearoa. Nicola was a guest poet at the Queensland Poetry Festival in 2012, following her debut collection, leaving my arms free to fly around you (Steele Roberts Aotearoa, 2011). She will appear at the Tasmanian Poetry Festival in October. You can follow her at Nicola Easthope – poet, on Facebook.
The poem originally appeared in an online anthology for National Poetry Day 2015 – ‘Catch and Release‘ (KUPU poetry anthology).
‘Blue night’ was inspired by Kelly Joseph’s pencil and pen artwork, dirge. Check out her beautiful creations here.