Carla Scarano D’Antonio lives in Surrey with her family. She obtained her Degree of Master of Arts in Creative Writing with Merit at Lancaster University in October 2012. She self-published a poetry pamphlet, A Winding Road, in 2011. She published her work on various anthologies and magazines and is currently working on a PhD on Margaret Atwood’s work at the University of Reading. She and Keith Lander won the first prize of the Dryden Translation Competition 2016 with translations of Eugenio Montale’s poems. She writes in English as a second language. Her blog: http://carlascarano.blogspot.com/ Her website: http://www.carlascaranod.co.uk/ She is a reviewer for Write Out Loud, you can find her reviews here: https://www.writeoutloud.net/public/blogentry.php?blogentryid=85771 https://www.writeoutloud.net/public/blogentry.php?blogentryid=86100
In touch with my daughter in Tokyo I would like to have you near me to touch you now to be sure we are part of the same bond of friendship and care – a family. But you are far away – busy busy, engaged with better chances, confrontation and confusion, hard work, swift changes. Photos on the kitchen shelves beam, heart-warming smile in a Howl’s-moving-castle mauve t-shirt, your favourite movie, and Italian red pepper earrings on the V&A background. When I feel sentimental, ache ticks spreading under the ribs; I send you a smile with hearts instead of eyes clapping hands a dancing lady and a hug a pumpkin for Halloween or a halo for your name day. The impersonal networking warms me up, though infertile, reminds me of the importance of imperfection in our infernal autonomy. Ants One summer, after digging deep in the rear garden to pave it, ants climbed up our French window poking into the living room. Did we turn their lives upside down? At first they proceeded in scattered grouping then ordered queues. We sealed the French window with silicon, washed the floor with bleach, sprayed vinegar and water, added essential oils, lemon juice, baking soda, as prescribed. They came back every night, every day, a relentless army of black things, silent invaders, reclaiming our space. They reached the kitchen in due time, found their way to the shelves and cupboards, biscuit boxes, sugar jar, flour bags; the tiniest food remains, crumbs or juicy drops attracted hundreds. Growing in confidence they settled under the floor boards. We gave up, bought a bottle of ant killer powder - fast and effective lasting up to three months - sprinkled it round their paths. They disappeared in a day, of course, their insignificant bodies dissolving under our feet. Good Friday I was surprised to see you at church on Good Friday, the day of betrayal and killing, when we kiss the naked body on the cross and cry for all our losses. You were there with your deaf mother, I was there with mine and her elderly friends. We quickly caught up fifteen years, my move to England, the new job, my son’s wedding, graduations, my father’s death and my mum living happily. You were just the same, unmarried, helping old relatives organizing their lives and yours, travelling alone mostly, your sister pulling out. Everything looked under control, neat words ordering a life. What the world throws at me she loses the world in her belly her thighs are fractions of petals her face is a riot rain and smoke smile in a window wood and sea water listen to the civil war her hair is a rope out of a refugee camp old and new things burn cautiously without breaking anything nothing that matters she bends the rake the hook and the shadow ties continents in small colonies her body marked by the seasons Sailing North We left with cherry trees blossoming, people arranging polished horns in a window. Opposite to south Vegetation grew rusty, gold, scarlet red silver grey, brown. Inhaling thro, branches torn bare frozen. North: thorn, torn, horn ton, not. Moonshine stream The moon boat sails the gloom of dusk, the frozen waves glide the winter shore: cawing of crows, whistling of decoy, cattails stand in skyline of glass. But in the night another song is heard of dissonant tunes and open tones, its melody a daring clash of sounds, rippling drops on barren soil. I’ll board the boat in hush and voyage out to land of unrecorded sorrows; we’ll meet there to clutch speckles of dawn, flashes of tomorrow. Janet You know when your mum marches in swinging her necklace chain: she is the boss, the strong black woman who came to this country and made her way up. But she doesn’t want her child to go too far, break barriers yes, but not too far. Oh Janet, your vermillion fingernails wave, weaving a protective net around your children, midnight eyes search their rooms for hidden traps, devious tracks, looking out beyond your immaculate blouse and azure skinny jeans. You know that to survive they need to be topnotch, or playing dead to let danger pass, absent when rage blows up, when the ritual slaughter happens, when there are no brakes to human brutality and the sacrifice falls. Stay at home my child, with my curry chicken and cornbread braids of earth and wire. Canada Water Floating bird houses swim offshore, watermarks vibrate like quivering voices in wafer air; thinning sounds in the dead calm of the lagoon. The favour of the wind erases colours, brings new found land ashore; the secret of the pioneer is in blurring contours, evanescent circling tours. Different forms emerge: Cree and Ojibwe, tongues of the land and the sea, their signs lick stones with primordial drawings; petroglyphs trace the way back to the origin, which was rewritten. Missionaries wrote their alphabets shape-shifting the native core, now powerless but still there, haunting presence of guttural sounds in place-names, creeks, lakes, rivers and mountains. The new house has unfilled spaces I measure with my thoughts, wide windows and verandas bursting with light, a white staircase spiralling up, knots in the honey wooden floor like dark birthmarks or gigantic ants I skip by instinct. The corners are sealed with golden velvet, the walls are cream. On the roof the skylights mirror the blue in trembling reflections. I lean from the balcony drowsily looking down at the grey tarmac, a pool of flames.
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