Poetry Journal

Issues / Volume 5 Issue 2 , November 2015


Take No Prisoners

Tessa McMahon

  It was the sisters’ turn on the rope.
  We eevy-ivy-overed, and skipped 
  all in together this fine weather
  captured by the slapping rope’s elipse.
  Sheila, the eldest, would give us news
  of their father, a prisoner-of-war
  confined, she said, in a bamboo cage
  smaller than the scoop of a skippy rope
  and tortured each day by the enemy.
  With younger sister in meek support,
  Sheila would then begin her questions. 
  One at a time … and where’s your father?
  Dad’s Triumph cycle had left his spleen,
  and more, spilled on the Great Ocean Rd.
  I’d mutter … at Fords… for Manpower,
  then add … My uncle’s in New Guinea!
  We never queried Sheila’s reports
  about her father’s dreadful ordeal.
  She took us prisoner at each recess,
  doing her bit, as mother and aunts
  gave white feathers to the baker’s boy.