“Love stories,” “It has been so long,” and “Saying goodbye”

“Love stories,” “It has been so long,” and “Saying goodbye”

Photo by Andrea Tummons on Unsplash

Love stories

The laughter you hear, deep within the interior of the house,

Where the old couple from Italy, have lived for fifty years.

Or the glimpse of the treasured grandson across the road,

Laughing as his cousin chases him with the garden hose.

And the couple you see from the train, as you fly by,

Standing together, hanging their washing on the line.

The elderly man sitting in the cancer centre waiting room,

Leaning into the grey-faced woman at his side.

The young man calling, you’re beautiful, as she skips,

In a dance, her new wig lifting softly from her shoulders.

The daughter listening intently as the doctor speaks,

Her arm around her father, her hand rubbing his back.

It has been so long

If we were still in touch, I think I would

Tell you about this poem I’ve written.

You would recognise the house,

With its geranium thicket at the front fence,

Broken gate, hanging on rusted hinges.

You would know what I mean when

You read, in so many ways, those were the

Days when the rule book was clear.

We knew what was expected, but oh how

We fluffed our lines time after time.

I mention the gate because you never did

Fix it as you said you would. You stayed

Out late, drank too much, fell into arms

That always seemed to be open. What a line

Of girls there was. What emptiness that was.

I prefer to think about the geraniums, their

Red nodding heads in the breeze at the edge

Of the hill where we tried so hard to be.

But it has been so long now, and perhaps

You don’t read poetry anymore.

Saying goodbye

Leaning towards me today,

Across the restaurant table.

Innocence and the sun behind you,

The white-silk skin crossing

Your collarbone, bare before me.

I wanted to run my fingers along

That bony ridge, fall into the hollow of

Your throat, lie prostrate

In freshly fallen snow, where

My aching body wouldn’t show,

Melting into the thaw. Saying goodbye,

Seeing you turn away, laughing.

Heavy rain travelling home,

The constant thud of wind wipers,

The dull-dread rhyme before me.

Fool-ish, fool-ish, fool-ish.

The windscreen wipers should have kept

The faith, but they screeched in protest.

Scattered rains flew behind me,

And I imagined you saying

You’ll wear the rubbers out.

As though your concern

For the tangible mattered,

When a valley of death had been

Crossed, and unbeknownst to you,

This old fool’s chant rings on.

About the Author

Heather Cameron

Heather Cameron is a poet with a particular interest in autopathography and elegy. Her work as a healthcare professional as well as her experiences with cancer has led her to write poetry exploring a wide range of themes centred around loss and grief. She completed a collection of poetry as part of her creative arts PhD at Deakin University, Victoria, Australia in 2021. Her published work includes "A Random Caller - Cancer Poetry" Ginninderra Press, South Australia, 2023. Heather has lived on the coast in Victoria, Australia for nearly the same number of decades that she lived in her birth country of Aotearoa, New Zealand. Her career has spanned 35 years in the healthcare and education sectors in both countries. She currently lives with her son and two cats, who despite not earning an income, are in charge of the household.

Read more work by Heather Cameron.