Almanac Poetry: ‘Waking in the Blue’ – Maria Takolander


Waking in the Blue

Addressed to Robert Lowell


The night attendant at the service station, which was garishly lit

         when I had thought the world extinguished,

         pumps $10 of fuel into our tank.

My plastic moneybox looks childish in the car’s back seat,

        but the silver coins that spill from its plughole

        perform an unexpected magic.

My mother has nothing, and I see how much it matters.

She parks the Toyota on the side of the highway beneath some gums,

        their white trunks streaked by the comets of passing cars.

My sister and I have my favourite blanket, gilded with synthetic stars.

At break of day we enter the police station in our dressing-gowns.

Two faceless men escort us home,

        where gravity has finally pulled everything down.

On the carpet are light fittings; the TV’s vacant box; the top half of

        the laminated wall unit; drawers and their contents (folded maps,                    

        loose photographs); volumes of an encyclopaedia

        with their hard covers torn off.

A more comprehensive list is not necessary.

In truth, my room is not as damaged as I want it to be.

My sister’s has been carefully destroyed.


My father is discovered in his bed, as eccentric and confused

as one of your old-timers.

But the police know to stay, while my mother sorts through the debris

         for a bankbook and some clothes, and then

         the men in blue lead us away.

There is a brick house with bars on every window.

A room stuffed with bunks and a cumbersome wardrobe.

At the kitchen table, women stub cigarette after cigarette

into a tin ashtray, playing show-and-tell

          with scars, picking over the ruins.

My sister has faith in a new miracle of creation.

But I am a child, not a visionary, and our mother has already surrendered 

          to the diabolical romance of return.

My father, cleanly shaven, stands at the door.

Inside, Earth’s furious pull has gentled again,

allowing the furniture—what was left of it—to right itself.

The place looks enough like our home

and our father’s naked face enough like contrition.

We restore our toothbrushes to the bathroom shelf

where our father’s glistening razor sits.


By Maria Takolander



Trigger Warning can be purchased from the publisher Here




For more information about Maria Takolander, her web site can be accessed Here.




More poetry from Almanac Poetry can be read HERE


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  1. Colin Ritchie says

    Just finished reading this great collection of poetry; well worth the buy.

  2. Matt Zurbo says

    Just beautiful! So good I am jealous!

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