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14th Anniversary Edition, Live Encounters Poetry & Writing Volume Four Nov-Dec 2023.
At Cherry Moon Cafe, poems by Caterina Mastroianni.
At Cherry Moon Cafe
An aroma, caramel, nutty and with
something else is a magnetic pull.
I try not to look at the younger queuers
with phone-lit faces like first quarter moons
waiting for their fill. I try not to look
at the frontline queuers ordering their coffees.
I try to be a composed middle queuer, but
I sway and look over shoulders, wondering
about the lady ahead. Perhaps
she’s a poet, a retiree or a quaintrelle.
Her long, cross-hatched fingers
move across her rings and phone
and there is a something else
she brings to the brim of her being,
that I relook and re-wonder about
until she turns. An older, fuller face
speaks in an emollient voice,
“I never know what I’m going to choose.
I’m working my way through the menu.”
At Ms. Queeny Nails
Into the act of grooming
that fastened war talons
to the fingers of Babylonian men
into the act of filing and shaping
that encumber the practicalities
we chip at, the typing and minding
into the act of painting and glossing
that revolutionise Iranian women
with a flash of perilous colour, I soak
into your complex intonations,
into your Cleopatra red,
into all the illustrious women
from Mrs. Cobb Manicure Parlours
in New York to Ms. Queeny Nails
in this Sydney suburban nook.
At the hotel
In this booked warm bedroom,
feeling relaxed and free from
morning games, there are no
daily solicitations and no
nightly noises. None of it.
I pull on my jumper and denims,
then make out the hanging fur,
pick the milky caramel strands
mingling into my dark clothing,
prising open a pretty preener,
leaping onto a favourite tree,
pawing her iPad fish furiously,
flattening to escape our cuddles,
supervising us with a patient purr,
widening eyes, and waving tail.
Is she all right with her carer?
© Caterina Mastroianni
Caterina Mastroianni is a poet and educator living in Sydney on the land of the Cadigal and Wangal people of the Eora nation. She has published poetry in various literary magazines and four Australian anthologies, including Australian Mosaic, and most recently in Burrow , Mediterranean Poetry, Honeyguide , The Ekphrastic Review, Live Encounters Poetry & Writing, Poetry for the Planet: An Anthology of Imagined Futures and Medium.