‘Survivors’ by Charlotte Eichler


Our aunts drink tea for hours – they have no mirrors or clocks
but each other’s faces tell the time. We wonder

why their hands shake and rattle the cups in their saucers.
We prowl the flat – the hallway dark with years of coats,

the dining room with carpets on the walls.
Each visit we think something will be different

but there’s always the same red View-Master
with unchanging views of Prague, and no TV.

We draw elaborate tunnels and hold funerals for bees;
the cheese plant grows towards the window as if trying to escape.

Our aunts show us a glass case of curled-up figures
but all we want is the china cockatoo and toy koalas.

Their arms come towards us lined with numbers
and we wriggle away from their touch.
(First published in the 2015 Flambard Poetry Prize Anthology)
Charlotte Eichler reads ‘Survivors’ on SoundCloud.
Charlotte Eichler’s poems have appeared in magazines including Agenda, Ink, Sweat & Tears, The Interpreter’s House and The Rialto, and she’s been shortlisted for the Bridport and Flambard Poetry Prizes. She was born in 1982 and lives in West Yorkshire. Twitter: @CLEichler