15 June, 2002Issue 1.1Creative WritingOriginal Poetry

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Carmen Bugan

In last night’s dream gladioli grew wild around the house
Queens-of-the-night crashed through walls
And the remains of the windowsills were overtaken
By tall white lilies and blue irises.
The roses we grew for preserves strangled the front door.

I was sitting next to the poplar grown through the roof
When I saw a man hanging smoked fish under the eaves.
My grandparents were having a meal of bread, onion, and water;
They were talking about bringing the corn to the mill
And threshing the beanstalks in the yard.

From the beans, the smell of summer.
I saw the sticks we made out of oak branches,
I remembered how we sat in the circle,
The dust from the stalks as we beat them—
Something like the sound of galloping horses.

They carried on with the meal. Then they sifted wheat.
I saw them walk right past me. They loaded the cart.
And I thought I heard my name in the throat of a gladiola.

Carmen Bugan, is at Balliol College, Oxford, writing a DPhil on the influence of Eastern European poetry on Seamus Heaney. Her work was published in 2001 Oxonian Poets: An Anthology and will appear in P.N. Review and The Tabla Book of New Verse.