Welcome to the airlock

Lisa Matthews

Your mother's eyelashes
were the blackest
you had ever seen and she knew
when the cat was waiting
on the back step to be let in.
You think you see her now,
lacing the dark light
through a hole in her shoe

and out the other side
to the white light of
the scullery
where an apple pie steams
on the bench top
as she turns the
handle on the mangle.
She's beating the stars
out of your clothes,
because it doesn't pay to dream,
and because that's what love is:

You open your mouth
and all the darkness falls out
with the bones of your voice
onto the drawing board
of the backroom floor,
where your father paces
counting the pearls
on his first wife's string,
the unfurled fingers
of his baby girl, stillborn.

Lisa Matthews

Born in Newcastle upon Tyne, Lisa Matthews has lived in the north east of England all her life. Diamond Twig Press published her first short collection, Postcard from a Waterless Lake, to great critical acclaim in 2001. She read from that pamphlet at the Aldeburgh Poetry Festival and, according to W N Herbert, can "draw you effortlessly into very human, very complex atmospheres and moods" with a "rare skill".

As well as poetry she has been trying to write a sustained work of fiction for at least ten years and after two false starts is currently working on a new novel about a woman who paints insects. (For which she is being mentored by Sara Maitland.)

Lisa lives with her partner at the coast and has played guitar since the age of six. If she weren't a writer she'd have loved to have been a musician and is sad that she stopped cutting and splicing reel to reel tapes of her own teenage songs in the late 70s. They've got computers to do that nowadays. Apparently.

Welcome to the airlock comes from her first full collection, The Deadheading Diaries (Dogeater Press, 2007).

An earlier Poem of the Month from Lisa: A map of where they are; and more recent poems, Ortolan and Preen..

Poem of the Month full list

Follow the link for a list of other Poems of the Month.

Welcome to the airlock © 2007 Lisa Matthews: used with permission.
Copyright of this poem remains with the poet: please do not download or republish without permission.