KATHRYN YUEN – TWO POEMS

A sentient being

A newborn fluffy chick

opens innocent eyes.

It  is riding the stainless steel processing line

jostled out of its waking state.

This laughless circus will kill it

render it faceless,

legless,

voiceless

although the glossy picture of chicken product

on the waxed cardboard box will be attractive

fraudulent

misrepresentation

to subdue consumers.

Its mother is not close or well

her bodyweight excessive for her legss

standing in excrement and hell.

Her only relief is that her term of entrapment

has been shortened from years to forty days.

These are the man-made terms of her ‘natural’ life.

Cluck.

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Afloat

sitting safe, away from unlikely peril

a young girl plays with the woolly hair of her rag doll

her young mama kneels before the soothing sound of rushing water

a river that has fed her, washed her, all her life

mama scrubs at sweat and grease on baba’s soiled singlets and

overalls are prepped for more of the work of living to continue

then the river undermines her foothold

sucks  a mother into it, carries her away

almost like a groom sweeps up a bride and cannot wait to be joined as one

there is agony and ecstasy, and agony and pain

her husband – thirty years her senior – they married for love

-not an arranged coupling- he is never to recover or hold her body again.

and a little girl, forever motherless.

when giving birth –  according to the celluloid people –

water always has to be boiling

 

youth plays at being grown up through waterslides, water pistols

bathing, surfing, the young are allowed an affair with water

 

 

looking at the chlorinated pool water, an old  daughter sees her mothers face reflected back; the dead wishing to hug the living.

when water is splashed on this mature-aged swim student’s face,

she can taste the salt of her tears in the pool water welcoming,  waiting for her

water turns a  cliff face into beach sand

and steel into rust through it’s  adrenalin-fueled wave

an old woman but still a young girl pining for a mother she barely knew,

dips her already prune-like toes into the shallow end of a pool

with one liver-spotted  hand with arthritic finger joints gripping the pools edge

( or is it a riverbank?), she lifts only one foot off the pool bottom

still unsure of that moment when life ceases and death takes over

or vice versa, all she knows is that water was involved

and she learns water can also lift her, not just let her sink or swallow her whole or take her out to sea. The living can also float.

water can give life

. water be a tiny drip or tsunami.

 

from a little girl who had watched her mother get washed away

‘to the orphans on the other side of the world’

this old woman at long last accepts

she too is seventy percent water

perhaps this has been  why she has carried the grief of loss in her being

like the crystal formations of water can also carry emotional vibrations

And finally, an old woman is no longer anxiety-riddled by grandchildren in baths or frolicking in a backyard pool.

An old woman is now comfortable to gargle with saltwater … without choking.

An old woman is now keen to drink eight glasses of water a day .

An old woman is no longer hostage to the pain of her childhood.

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Kathryn is an emerging writer, poet, and playwright.She has been published in ZineWest, Social Alternatives, Otoliths,

Chrysanthemum, Poetry d’Amour 2013 – Love Poems for Valentine’s Day,

RedRoom’s Disappearing app, and various anthologies and online.Her plays have been read and staged by PlayWritingAustralia, Short&Sweet, and as part of Women Power and Culture by Sydney’s New Theatre. Her work has also won awards.
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