Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Tuesday Poem: Humming

Natalie’s humming.
The small cheeks inflate
and the eyes too, larger
and larger, the whites
alarming, the pupils bright as
cutlery, begging me
to guess what’s
pent up inside her, buzzing like
a hive of bees inside the
membrane of her cheeks, to allow her
to let it loose
in a woosh of air or spit or
a single unearthly note –

All I can do is stare at the dear
vibrating face, its perfect oscillations, a
familiar and unfamiliar
instrument. What has it seen, where
has it been? I am helpless
     as she teeters
on the chair,
inflating until there is no skin left to stretch,
no give in the eyeball, no feeling in her vibrating
lips, the buzz a thin high whine now –
and it’s then
that she rises bumpily into
the air.
                      I could grab at her ankle,
the hand with the dutch tattoo, but
I don’t. The hum – it is an engine.
She needs to go.
She needs to go. 

                             Mary McCallum

This is for Natalie, of course. The lovely girl who came to us one day to stay a while, a scarf wrapped round her dark hair, reminding me of a small bird. And who hummed and buzzed and eventually floated away, and came back, and hummed and buzzed and floated away, and came back...  It's what she does. There is a mooring rope of sorts we each hold onto, something fine that can't be seen.

Do go to the TUESDAY POEM hub - a blissful poem there by Anna Jackson. And then slide into the TP sidebar and all the other terrific poets and poems.  


Catherine said...

This is lovely, a touch of realistic description and a touch of magic..

Claire Beynon said...

'. . . a hive of bees inside the
membrane of her cheeks. . .

. . . All I can do is stare at the dear. . . '

As Catherine says, there's magic in here. And Natalie's ageless. First time I read this, I imagined her as a toddler, next time as a teenager, next as mid-life woman and then. . . well, then she was very old; old enough to vaporize; mirage, trickster.

Thanks, Mary. xo