Parlour Noise

From where I am I can hear it all—

I hear the table aching, bemoaning

the weight of ten bone china plates,

the soup terrine with the lion on its lid

intrepid with its claws widely spread, however

decapitated. As the parlor pools with sounds,

I listen to its scorn—the walls swell,
the sheers

swish, like a hostess flicking her skirt back

and forth as to hush her dirt-dissing guests.

I hear the rusting of locks, the yellow vulgarities

of some mums in scalloped pots, the shrieking

of a maidenhair leaning into the radiator’s

Most persistently I can hear the fruit rot

in pop-pop’s copper basket, but not
the gnats

hovering above it—new-born, they
are ignorant

about our voicing of hunger. I listen to the graying

of my mother’s hair as she enters
in bog-wafts

of Brussels sprouts and purple giblets.

Like drunkards warbling, both dishes try to shout

each other out. I hear them sing, “we
win, we win.”

Dad gets up, takes his pipe, his paper, his pygmy

glass trembling with jenever and disengages.

I am not here, nor have I ever been.

Elisabeth Majewski is a native from Eindhoven, The Netherlands. She works as a part-time English instructor at Montgomery County Community College and is a freelance translator in Dutch, French and German. Her poetry has been published in French by the La Fontaine poetry association at Elisabeth lives in Gilbertsville, PA.

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