Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Helen Lehndorf, "A skull" & "1001 Questions"

Helen Lehndorf

A skull, a silk, a skulk

It was raining Japanese rain:
straight down and copious.

My Great-Grandmother always said:
Don't borrow trouble

which is good advice, but she
didn't say what to do if trouble
borrows you. Damn her for dying.

Here's the thing – if there is a hair
in my dinner, and if I cooked the dinner
(which, let's face it, is most nights)
I will just eat the hair. I will also eat
corn silks, spotty apples and furry cheese.
I have become a resigned person.

There was one day when you decided
to communicate in pairs of sonic screeches
so shrill I could feel my ear drums folding
and although I begged you to stop you
found it very amusing how agitated I was
becoming so you kept on doing it and there
came a point where I thought I might actually
kill you I might actually crush your skull in
the fridge door I might actually throw you
through a closed window but instead I fetched you
a very large bowl of ice-cream and a tiny tiny teaspoon
which made you silent for about seventeen minutes
which was long enough for me to get it together

again. Voilà.

While you were eating ice-cream I was
hiding in the toilet because
there is a lock on the door
and I can breathe and read
my big book of facts so I'll have
interesting things to say
at dinner parties.
I'm up to
collective nouns
right now,
like did you know
that a group
of foxes
is called a

1001 Questions About Roses

Moving, as in

a shift of the emotions,
the sad tang of what
is ahead, what got left.

1001 Questions About Roses
is the first library book I borrow
after moving house. I have a garden now.

This house creaks like an old boat

when the wind blows
and a ghost keeps unlatching the gate.
Worse, the rain falls silently
on the orange tiled roof.

Before I even find places
for our belongings, he has flattened
all the boxes and taken them to the dump,
as if we are here for good.

Shifting, as in
a change in perspective,
There is so much space, we lose each other
and wander from room to room, calling.

Helen Lehndorf is a mother, teacher and poet who lives in Palmerston North, New Zealand. She has published widely in literary journals and anthologies. She experiments with words and photographs at

RECONFIGURATIONS: A Journal for Poetics & Poetry / Literature & Culture,
http://reconfigurations.blogspot.com/, ISSN: 1938-3592, Volume Three (2009): Immanence/ Imminence

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