Monday, July 21, 2008

“AFTERNOON”, by Emma Rossi


Once an imaginary friend lied to me.
We were drinking tea with skim milk.
I don’t know.
The opal fog, a harp.
I was trying to tell imaginary right
from imaginary wrong.
It took more than a quote on a keepsake pillow.
I’m really opening up here.
She said she didn’t care.
The sun deceived me too,
gave me a throbbing headache
and a funny idea.
I lay down for a nap
knowing it would last until morning.
Way to go.

-- Emma Rossi

I discovered this one in the new issue of 6X6. Why do I like it so much? I like drinking tea in poems. And headaches. So it’s got that going for it. I like the odd proposition: “Once an imaginary friend lied to me.” The poem’s images are almost all domestic – tea, keepsake pillow, nap. Even “opal fog, a harp” have a flipped-open-book-on-coffee-table feel about them, the book next to the tea tray maybe. There’s that faux naif feel to the poem. Unlike the poem(s) by children I’ve lately quoted the speaker offers up her propositions without authority. “I don’t know” … “The sun deceived me too, / gave me … a funny idea.” “I was trying to …” The speaker sounds oppressed, weary, but plonks down a phrase from a pep talk (“Way to go”; “I’m really opening up here”) as though to ward off the fixer, the advice-giver, the one who would poke a nose in with an unwelcome: “Snap out of it!” No, says the poem. Talk to the pillow.

source: 6X6, issue 15, Spring 2008

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