Today everything on the line is black—
T-shirt, linen, underwear. The bright
floral pyjamas on black background
stand out like poppies in a coal mine.
Mother hated black, to her it was evil.
She wouldn’t have survived a Goth child,
even though at the end of her life
a black pit swallowed her.
She had her rules – Monday’s for washing.
But here, it’s on Saturday. Black denim,
clean pyjamas rich with lavender smell.
Denim, for mother, was the communists
wanting to equalise the world. She refused
to shorten the hems for me. How’s that
for defiance? A woman who stood firm
in her beliefs, oppressed by autocrats, patriarchs.
Rooi Gevaar / Red Scare is all she said
when asked what’s a communist? This made
no sense to a child because denim was blue.
But today even the denim on this line is black.
Martha Landman writes in Adelaide, South Australia. Her work has appeared in anthologies and online journals in Australia, the UK, the US and South Africa. The latest was in The Poetry Village, Blue Bottle Journal, Tamba and Sparks of Calliope.