The Rusty Toque | Issue 10 | Poetry | June 30, 2016
Napoleon’s violets return
to France each year—eh bien!
I’m skimming the news, looking for
rubber ducks or planets. No. No
purple blood in these pages.
But in France, there’s beauty
after mutilation, spreading
even before the trees have stirred, death
I FORGET LIKE A GOLDFISH
I forget like a goldfish
that the time is twelve thirty-five
just past noon or after midnight.
In the mirror a girl who is not me
wears a peach swimsuit and stares
through a circled sun at a point
above her head. I opt for chandeliers
of upturned bottles fighting
light with rust and the time
is still twelve thirty-five. Now I know
spring can be condensed into something
amber like a letter: my dear sir, I am writing
to remind you—I am SO sorry—that even
screen figures are real when you add
a third dimension. Concentrate
on the act of elimination to arrive
at your answer. Cross out the stars. Twelve
thirty-five. Politely, a gull in a grey suit waits
for the light to change before she struts
to the other side, and tourists stop to watch.
The only sun is in the mirror captured
in metal. A blue rabbit crouches in a square.
There is cake and rain and he will build
an house and it will be forever. Again I forget
not to look at the time.
Fractured, aching, the house shakes
every time a train goes by.
What colour is sulphur?
Does it hurt?
The sun constrains it to unstable lightness,
a final destination, beauty.
At home, we raise the plastic branches of a 12-inch pine,
count the layered cotton smoothed like fur.
Some incidents may or may not have happened.
Families are like that.
Born and raised in Kolkata, India, AYESHA CHATTERJEE has lived in England, the USA and Germany, and now calls Toronto home. Her poetry has appeared in several magazines including nthposition, Autumn Sky Poetry, The Guardian online, Magma Poetry as well as being featured by the (Great) Indian Poetry Collective. Her first collection The Clarity of Distance was published in 2011 by Calgary-based Bayeux Arts. She is currently President of the League of Canadian Poets.