Tuesday Poem—”Fairytale V: O Brother” by Helen Heath
Fairytale v: O Brother
Okay, so I don’t remember / it like that. They said we / were going for a picnic and I didn’t even want to go / but they said we needed to get out / of the house and so we were / supposed to feed the fucking ducks / or something, me and my little sister. / So we’re chucking bread / at the ducks and the sparrows / are coming down too and grabbing / the bread my sister can’t / throw far enough and the ducks / are getting really pissed off and / then one of them grabs / a sparrow by the leg and pulls / it down under the water and / my little sister starts / crying and chucking bread at this duck / and then the sparrow bobs up / and is floating with its little / wings spread out and my sister / has snot running down over / her lips and then we look / around and Mum and Dad aren’t / there and we don’t know / our way back to the car and I’m starting / to feel cold and my little sister / won’t stop that stupid / hiccup-cry-sniff / and we’re walking away / and sniffing and back at the duck pond / I know the sparrow is still floating / with its wings out. / Then I see a piece of Lego I must / have dropped on the way / from the car and then another / and I pick them up and put / them in my pocket and we keep walking / and picking up bits of Lego / and by now it’s getting dark / so it’s lucky the last few pieces are white / like the moon and we come out / into the car park and our parents / are waiting in the car looking disappointed / and we climb in the back seat and the vinyl / is cold and slippery on my legs and / I wish I had long pants and Dad says / it’s all my fault and I need to be more responsible. / We should have stayed put where they wanted us / floating with our wings out.
(c) Helen Heath
Published in Graft, Victoria University Press, 2012
Reproduced here with permission.
About the Poem:
As I indicated on Sunday 24 in “What I’m Reading”, I enjoyed Helen Heath’s collection Graft very much. This poem is drawn from the “Fairytale” sequence and is possibly my favourite of those poems. I’ve also recoreded an interview with Helen that I hope will play this weekend on Women on Air, Plains 96.9 FM. In the meantime, I hope you enjoy this poem.
About the Poet:
Helen Heath is the author of Graft, a collection of poems. In 2009 she completed an MA in Creative Writing at the IIML, where she is currently working toward her PhD. Her research project explores how science is represented in poetry. She is using this research to write poems about the intersect between people and technology. Helen won the inaugural ScienceTeller Poetry Award in 2011 for her poem ‘Making Tea in the Universe’. Her writing has been published in many journals in New Zealand, Australia, the UK and the US. Helen’s chap-book of poems called Watching for Smoke was published by Seraph Press in 2009. She blogs at helenheath.com and writes poetry and essays.