Blue enamel colander

From the doorway 
I watched 
my mother stand 
at the kitchen sink 
peeling potatoes. 
My father moved up behind 
and put his big, hairy arms 
around her waist. 
She didn’t speak 
just kept on peeling 
the dirty skin 
from the white flesh 
her fingers raw 
from cold water 
above the blue enamel colander. 
My father stood close 
as if measuring the rise 
and fall of his hands 
on her belly 
until she was done. 
Two days later 
my sister came 
still born 
in a rush of blood. 
I never saw them 
stand like that again. 


Nick Williamson lives in Christchurch. His first book of poems, The Whole Forest, was published by Sudden Valley Press in 2001. ‘Broken Light’, a poem from that book was selected for Best New Zealand Poems in that year. In 2005 his poem, ‘Learning a Language’, won the New Zealand Poetry Society’s International Poetry Competition.


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