Readers are asked to send a note of any misprints or mistakes that they spot in this poem to support@standmagazine.org

This poem is taken from Stand 225, 18(1) March - May 2020.

Caroline Price Three Poems

The ladies of Haus Knoll

The daughter is etiolated
as a crocus stalk, something grown
too long in darkness. She lives
close to the ground, sends us
floors above, to where a frayed light enters.

She is so absent, the place so hushed
that for days we assume she’s alone, believe
our own stories,
that her mother has died and left her
to let the house sink gradually to its knees
in a powder of balconies and plaster.

So when the old woman appears
one morning at breakfast, it is like someone
rising from the grave – and she moves
like a ghost, without questions
or introduction. The pair of them stand in the door
reflecting each other, hands dangling
and almost smiling

as if they are permanently waiting
for their guests to go out and leave them
to their underworld, the gate clanging closed
and the day to themselves,
the sun as it rises burning off any last wisps of mist
to illuminate mountains and, in the sunken garden
just visible through conifers tangled with roses

the pool on whose cracked flags
two heaps of clothing lie,
where two heads, one fair, one grey
move slowly up and down together

and the sound that filters up
to the high path and the ears of summer walkers
could be children, could be laughter.


Avalanche

It was barely dawn
and the children still asleep
soundless in the bunk beds they’d fought over
up to their ears in duvet

and she had just tiptoed across the floor
was in the bathroom brushing her teeth
one hand at her throat
holding her nightshirt closed

oblivious of the other in the mirror
in the way one is of anything familiar
unless taken by surprise

which is why when it happened
when the rumbling started and then the shaking
she saw her face for the first time in the blinding light.


Sting

There are hives in the trees – and as you say it
I feel the white heat of the point entering.     

You pull down my strap, nudge the cotton
to one side and bend your head
towards my breast, intently,

as if you mean to search for the sting
with your mouth, to nuzzle at the reddening mark

and suck it out,
barbs withdrawing from the flesh
with a soft plook, clotted with yellow like pus,

all that venom on your lips and somewhere
a small black unremarked death.

This poem is taken from Stand 225, 18(1) March - May 2020.

Readers are asked to send a note of any misprints or mistakes that they spot in this poem to support@standmagazine.org
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