Francesca Jurate Sasnaitis

Fable 02 : Folksong

in 1948 the wind moved through the trees 
someone saw

someone looked through the window
and saw the wind settle in the leaves
silvering the leaves, the swirl

someone saw the leaves settle

her fingers fell asleep and the leaves stopped
through the window the leaves in the wood settled

Red Riding Hood walked by
The Wolf followed 

in her imagination

the basket was heavy and her fingers ached
at the edge of the wood, the burden
framed at the edge

in 1948 the wind stuttered through the leaves
the frame cut the trees in two

                              this is all you see
                              this view

someone saw the wind settle where the wood stops
and the trees begin

framed —

the dissonance between song and song
framed edge and wood
land’s edge and sea

the wind fanned leaves in the wood
all was not as it seemed, she left (and arrived)

hurry —
the wind whistled hurry
the picture hangs on the wall

in 1948 the wind settled
someone saw and set the camera
to capture the wind in the leaves
on the wall

in 1948 someone left
she took a picture (not the family)

the wind in the leaves 

Fable 04 : The Wanderer

hills roll out          slowly, I look
quickly, eyes on the road
                                                    There’s a track winding back
the wanderer searches for the way home          I never know
when to stop

a friend on Facebook posts a study
in blue and grey  :  train  city  scape  sky

wherever light falls          space unfolds          above hills

the body sways in rhythm
with footfalls          with the landscape     
I watch one foot          fall in front          of another
                                                    Thursday’s child has far to go
escape with eyes on the road

the wanderer sees the landscape marked in ways
sensate  :  where words can’t go
the landscape written on the body

          walking the body sees
in ways inexplicable  :  land  scape  body  
where words don’t count

Fable 05 : The Storyteller

‘permission to evaporate’

                    which war was that?
the one that hasn’t ended yet
                    I forgot
they called it ‘collateral damage’
remember? the war not ended

                    I remember
holding up the moon takes two
hands; the man hides his face
at midnight; the man

curls in upon himself like a shoot
retreating from the light; the moon
leaves the streets empty and the alleys 

dark and dangerous; tripwire enters
into the realm of acts-of-mercy  

                    I forgot
permission to evaporate = authorised departure
close the door and throw away the key
(if only memories were as easy to leave)

                    take me
memory whispers take me, a seed
planted in stony ground

on the shore of the Dead Sea
we waited for the boat to pick us up

and tired of waiting
the boys jumped ship and swam

return to return
hit return          on the keys

island to island, hoping —
some made it

swam to a new home
left behind there

                   the storyteller
remembers and forgets

the sand and the night
the moon held in two hands
the grand light; the eye
looking down upon the earth
and song past / gone / to-come
the melding of days into forever
the long long memory of days
back and forth

the storyteller brings a suitcase
full of rubble : jokes and songs
to build a new life, higher
build a better
anything is possible

                    and well we might defend
and well we might          define the shore
where old ends and new begins
who can tell? the tide laps
the mind leaps from island to island
                    and the swim home          ah family
                    my brother
                    my sister
                    in this new         we

Fable 06 : Soliloquy (one too many)

The frame shifts

                                        Begin with 
the breath of childhood. We used to say babymouth, remember?
for flavours too strong for comfort : regret and sadness

Too late they tell us, no one can make reparation

                    They tell us       come out come out wherever you are
you’re safe. They say smile
come out of your hidey-hole, a playground word
for an inner world, my reflection in the mirror
an act of disclosure (I was going to say myself reflected
in the mirror of the soul. Strike that!)

                    “The Grand Tussle”
someone described life. I liked it at the time : the symphony
the to and fro. Someone else said estrangement happens when one wins
and another chooses to lose

I stutter over the page              The shadows aren’t deep enough to hide
One coughs, another snorts like a donkey
and I love——remember the leap off the edge?

The cliffs crumble (over millennia) into the sea
The waves settle solid as rock, the island shifts on its foundations
or the wind tilts the frame

The picture hangs from the wire, a triangle
from the nail hammered into the wall, the picture knocked askew
the shoulder, or face, shoved into the wall
                                         The frame tilts

They always say too late, from the moment
the moment happens——I don’t know how to undo
myself unravelling          Someone chose to lose
                                             or was forced to

Francesca Jurate Sasnaitis spends her time between Melbourne and Perth, where she is a doctoral candidate in Creative Writing at the University of Western Australia. Her recent writing appears in diverse publications, including Australian Book Review, Poetry d’Amour, Soluble Edge, Southerly, Sydney Review of Books, The Four Seasons, and Westerly.
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