At first the dead return
as if they have only been away
on holiday or a business trip.
They cannot help
but surreptitiously look
to see what you have changed.
The back door shoes are gone,
the wardrobe is leaner, certain possessions
have become artefacts.
Still, the comforts remain.
You look at the dead amazed, they evade
your questions; say - they’ve only been away
for a while, look pointedly
around the room, let the wine glass linger
at their translucent lips.
You lay the table, white plates,
cutlery, linen napkins, salt and pepper,
quartered lemons, olive oil, parmesan and a fresh salad;
give them a placemat
light the tapered candles,
bring out the cellared wine.
ANDREW'S APOLOGY: I was not able to get an image to post of Victoria, but if you would like to see what she looks like, go to:
Victoria Broome works as a Mental Health Counsellor with Pegasus Health in Christchurch and writes when she can, not often enough! She has been a past poetry editor of Takahe, received the Louis Johnson Bursary from Creative NZ in 2005, attended Hagley Writers Institute in 2008 and 2009 and came second with Ian Wedde in the 2010 Kathleen Grattan Poetry Award. She has published in anthologies, and NZ-based journals and The Press, but not yet a book of her own.
ANDREW'S NOTE: If there is any justice in this world, Victoria deserves to have a book of her own work out and I'm sure the reality cannot be far away.
I read this poem in The Press recently and was captivated by it. I had noticed Victoria's work in The Press before and very much enjoyed it and so I approached her (thank you, Helen Lowe) to reproduce this wonderful poem. I felt it deserved a wider audience beyond Canterbury. I won't blather on about the poem as I think it speaks for itself in all its richness, its quirkiness and its lingering images. Thanks, Victoria.