Poetry Shelf Monday Poem: Cadence Chung’s ‘would not dare’

would not dare

it’s that one tiny shift, one flick
of a blind and suddenly your room
is a camera obscura and every
image flickering on the walls is
enough to yearn for, tongue hot
and waiting. it might be enough
for her, to listen to her heart
like a century-old recording — with
poise, with study, with interest —
but it is not enough for me, not
when every note seems to form
an anagram for her name. when
did that happen, you ask, about
freckles going from dark patches of
skin to night-sky smatterings of
glitter. when did i get so stupid?
one day you are in bed with your
downy white cat and the next
you are in your grandma’s kitchen,
tears in your eyes as you look
at her fine china teapot you
smashed, the blue willow-pattern
fragmented incomprehensible.
without saying a word, your
grandfather takes the duster,
sweeps up all the pieces and
makes you cheap tea in separate
cups. that afternoon you try and
fail to play Debussy on his old
piano, and he pretends not
to listen. the pottery fragments
watch on, those ancient lovers
broken in two, finally lying still
in their paper-towel graves.

Cadence Chung

Cadence Chung is a poet, student, and musician from Te Whanganui-a-Tara, currently studying at the New Zealand School of Music. She draws inspiration from Tumblr posts, antique stores, and dead poets. Her debut poetry book ‘anomalia’ was published by Tender Press Press in April 2022.

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