Portrait of a Departed Lady (Amanda Anastasi)

Verity La Heightened Talk

Funeral plans: a wall crypt underneath
her mother’s; pink roses on the pew ends.

A house-size increase upon the exodus
of children, husband, friends, dissention.

Her disdain for the coverings of foreigners,
unusual hairstyles, childless women.

The mismatched furniture, each piece
never appearing to belong in the room.

The cupboards filled to the flimsy doors
with unused containers and forgotten dolls.

Her terror of the freeway; ringed fingers
clutching the steering wheel, a precipice.

Today, my auntie’s sixtieth. She fidgets
and mumbles en route, wishing to be home.

I suggest revolt and a turning of the car.
She looks at me wide, an uncertain child.

Turning her head to avoid my repugnant
eye, she squeezes the wheel and continues.

Her lipstick: two red lines, ever-increasingly
not matching the shape of her mouth.

Her attendance at the funerals and parties
of strangers because they are family.

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Amanda Anastasi
has been published as locally as Windsor’s Artists’ Lane walls to The Massachusetts Review in the US. Her debut poetry collection was 2012 and other poems and she recently co-authored The Silences with Robbie Coburn (Eaglemont Press, 2016). Amanda is the recipient of the 2017 Words in Winter Trentham Contemporary Poetry Prize, and a two-time winner of the Williamstown Literary Festival’s Ada Cambridge Poetry Prize.