By Michèle Nardelli
Some families are sedate and harmonious and others are more discordant. We were a passionately argumentative lot. Looking back it would be easy to focus on the quarrels - but underneath it all, something I understood less as a child than I do now, there was an abiding love underlining all the squalls in our family voyages.
So this poem is about love and conflict.
Sink-clashing words stamp past
the dinner discussion.
A view, a notion raised over hot soup
that blew out of all proportion
and landed, shattering
tense shards across the kitchen floor.
He is thundering now.
A bit of smoke escapes from his lips,
a cloud of hot air,
before he kills the butt
on the crust at the side of the plate
that she swoops in to take and drown
in silent suds, holding it down until
all resistance is gone
Having lit the fuse, we scatter,
take the table cover to shake away
the crumbs of domestic order,
out the door into the garden
where little bird families are getting settled
for a cosy night in.
Thick air wraps through the house
A warm scarf stifling the mild evening.
Homework bound we're shaken up, focused
on the growing craze of cracks that zip across
our maths books and spelling lists.
Trying hard to find a way to use romance and
reconciliation in a sentence.
Pen poised, I remember one night when
sleep-slippered, I wandered through my dreaming house
and found the door ajar to a porch of stars
and their silhouette - a carved caress of
loving arms and bending heads
against an enormous Looney-Toons moon
and grateful, I breath it in
the reverie of their love