Two poems by Catherine Graham

 
Dancing with Angels

‘Is she usually like this?’
the nurse asks indifferently.

No, she’s not usually a ballerina,
I’ve never heard her sing like this, beautiful, carefree.

Perhaps I am meeting her for the first time,
perhaps this is how she wants to be,

free from all our expectations, skimming stones
across reality. I want to congratulate her,

be her first and last dancing partner
for I know in this blue moon moment

that soon her parade will be over.
I lie beside her, listening

to breathless conversations with her sisters
who step from a sepia photograph

as the room whispers the scent
of invisible flowers.

I watch as her fingers grow long,
her fingertips, turquoise, cold.

On her lips a silent song,
trials, like rocks spilling out from her pillow.
 
 
She Wishes For A Poem By Yuri Zhivago

Write me a poem Yuri, like the ones you wrote for Lara.
She doesn’t deserve them, she swanned off with Kamarovsky.
I pity you, torn between her and Tonya.

Poor Yuri the poetic doctor, left to tend to Lara’s mother.
So tell me: your poems – I bet they rhyme flawlessly.
Write me a poem Yuri, like the ones you wrote for Lara.

She had you, Kamarovsky and then there was Pasha!
Seems to me like she lived life horizontally.
I pity you, torn between her and Tonya.

Is it the angelic look, tell me, what is it about her
that compels you to write love poems endlessly?
Write me a poem Yuri, like the ones you wrote for Lara.

I love the scene where she rests her head on your shoulder.
(I’ve never read the book, I’ve only seen the movie.)
I pity you, torn between her and Tonya.

Oh I could look into your dark eyes forever
and what I would give to read how much you love me.
Write me a poem Yuri, like the ones you wrote for Lara.
I pity you, torn between her and Tonya.
 
 
Catherine Graham lives in Newcastle on Tyne. Her chapbook Signs (ID on Tyne Press) was one of The Poetry Kit’s top five recommended books for 2011. Catherine’s first full collection Things I Will Put In My Mother’s Pocket has just been published by Indigo Dreams Publishing.