Daily Poems: Saturday 9 March

Poste Restante

For a while, my brother collected stamps. Never using tweezers,

he casually poked them into see-through pockets, or slid them

under glassine sheets, preserving them in their own microclimate.

When he tired of them, he passed them on to me.


I was content to run my finger along their selvedge,

intuning the anthem each stamp sang.  Magyar’s soft tones,

Fiji’s turtle choir, Denmark’s lyrical sommerfugl.

Each rectangular petit-beurre evidence of the nuance

and living colour of world outside that attic room.


And to you, sister, I stuck, like a limpet.  One day,

you licked yourself and stuck yourself firmly

to your husband-to-be.  When you tired of us,

you posted yourselves to South Australia, dropping

into that inverted void, a distant continent of wallabies,

top-loader washing machines, insect infestations.


Six months would pass before the looked-for collectible came.

You had found other shells, became the etranger, adopting

new sounds, sights and smells with abandonment.  I don’t

attach myself to precious things anymore; the collection sold.


It had seemed to me that I was your smaller Matryoshka.

But with a twist came darkness and silence, and there was

no familiar shape to fit inside.

Lisa Storm-Olsen

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