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Poem: Our Likeness

Books & Poetry

This week’s Poet’s Corner sees Linda Kohler reflect on the legacy of ancestry.

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Our Likeness

My ancestry keeps her hair in waves and
warns me to mind the fleck on my face, while
she points to hers – overgrown. Laser might
be the trick, she tells me. Before it’s too late.

My ancestry makes me cups of tea before
she leaves, and I’m moored on the decks of a
gravestone, wondering where her ship came
from, more than where it went. Containing her
in flowers.

My ancestry, for all her salt, is two generations
young, and distant before that. They all are,
even those of us who know the words. England.
Germany. Poland. Mixed-race. Estimations
on a map: strangely named, flimsy
hulls.

My ancestry and I check the beauty spot on my face
in the mirror, lest it’s become a mole, and cling
to rose droppings in tea bags as if by swinging
their pendulum over the surface of days, we’ll
pinpoint bearings and cultural rituals; unknot a
mottle of births, documents, ships, skin spots.

My ancestry tells me to, ‘mind now, you hear?’
before she leaves my thoughts for a few more
stolen ones, scattered near the empty cup.

Linda Kohler lives in Adelaide but grew up on a fruit block outside of Renmark. Her poetry has been published in various Australian journals and anthologies, including previous contributions to InDaily’s Poet’s Corner. She has been a highly commended applicant for the Australian Society of Authors Poetry Mentorship Program, a waitress, a television scriptwriter, a proofreader and teacher. Her inspiration comes from the natural world and the beauty of the human spirit. Her work-in-progress collection, ‘Home Towns’, is in its final stages of compilation.

Readers’ original and unpublished poems of up to 40 lines can be emailed, with postal address, to poetscorner@solsticemedia.com.au. Submissions should be in the body of the email, not as attachments. A poetry book will be awarded to each accepted contributor.

 

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