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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.
Ruth 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.