COLLEGE FEMINISMS: Two Poems by Ruth Corkill – The Feminist Wire

COLLEGE FEMINISMS: Two Poems by Ruth Corkill

By Ruth Corkill


I Never Called You Lolita


She’s a real glamour puss hmm. She doesn’t

Just doodle around she actually

Calls herself an artist, the sort of thing

That makes my teeth curl, watch your diction here

Humbert, you will have to fend her off saying:

You looked so lovely in your grinning and bared

Gym slip and above the collar cut,

The little slopes around your lips and thighs,

Now you’ve underlined your eyes and arched back

In black- its insufferable my darling!

Sealing over the little hairs and stains

You’ve made yourself a wax doll that you can

Pose and photograph in all the most

Challenging  positions. I see you’ve

Taken up tobacco. How tormented

How wretched how achingly beautiful

You didn’t even take the time to clear

The smoke from your eyes. It was a rough night.

French phrases escape you. Are you being

Self disparaging or is this a net?

À mauvais ouvrier point de bon outil.

Yes! I wish I knew what you were saying.

I wish you were still mine to criticize.

I wish I could speak with the tongues of

Jeremy Irons. My darling, my dearest

My doll I have a confession to make;

I dropped a raisin somewhere in your car.

It’s grown the sort of shaggy mould that makes

It cringe worthy to pick up and throw out.

But you know my belle, for me it was one

Of many different items of dried fruit.

Look, I’m not sure you’re really taking this in,

Oh, and about the way you look at me sadly;

Those were the days. Whimsy. Letting-me-go-

Although-you-love-me. Would you piss off!

You of girlish hands and tight girlish farts

Crying Humbert Humbert Humbert in a

Lilting twin tone lie!

Honestly, why in the name of Christ

Did you let yourself fall so far?

I never even looked at you my pet.

I was a child too my dear, a frightened child.

You said you were the Watson to my Holmes

A frankly disturbing observation.

I would never cast another in such

A great role. How can you be so resigned?

Go do something would you. Try hating me.




My Mother Told Me


To put on my seatbelt or I’d end up

Like Lady Di. She took me to a clinic

to show me what would happen if I rolled

off the top bunk. Before I could read I

Had Macbeth dramatized on cassette,

I had exodus memorized in my head,

I had some Alberta Hunter with bed

Time debriefs and Wagner for the nights when

we were glad to be listening and not to

Listing with the hours. Mother she showed me

animated Animal Farm which I

re-enacted with the playmobil,

trapping the farmer in the loft, bolting

the green barn doors. I lined up all the little

plastic piggies with their neck hinges bent

All the way back, craning up at the captive.

When I asked who joe DiMaggio was

she said “just one of Marilyn’s husbands.”

When I asked if the mountain would burst or

seep soporific deep breathing suffocation

over its own body to drown us in

our huts or hurl fire, gush water heavy

with mud she said “maybe.” She told me to

ask that mountain what he had seen stolen.

She told me that Grandfather found a child’s

shoe in the drudge of Tangiwai. She told

me long neckie giraffe lasts longer than

short neckie giraffe. She told me I could

be a detective. She told me people

are born, impregnated and killed just like

sheep, she said in some cultures these are still

called christening, wedding, and funeral.

She told me I was beautiful and

unnaturally sagacious, this would

cause trouble, I was a rat, an urchin

a delightfully sly fox, I was Kim,

I was even Iago. She never

told me why. But everyone else knew.



unnamedRuth Corkill is a physicist working in Wellington, New Zealand. She studied poetry and fiction at The Iowa Writers Workshop Summer Graduate Program and has a minor in Creative Writing from the International Institute of Modern Letters in Wellington. Her work appears in the New Welsh Review, Poetry 24, Tuesday Poem, The Dominion Post, Hue and Cry, The Listener, Jaam, Landfall, and The Bristol Short Story Competition Anthology.