Monday, August 22, 2011

Tuesday Poem - Leaving Home by Andy Kissane

Leaving Home

The oven door was permanently ajar,
hanging by its last hinge, when my mother
crossed the kitchen and planted a kiss
on my father’s bristly cheek, just below

his grey-flecked, neatly squared sideburn.
She didn’t say anything or look back
as the wire door slammed shut. Striding
calmly towards the oak tree, my mother

glanced at the clothes line spinning idly
in the breeze, smiled at the garden gnome
lounging by the pond, his fishing rod poised
above the lily pads. Free from the ache

of varicose veins, she climbed the tree.
“At last,” she said to herself, “I have managed
to get my priorities right” — and with that
the feathers sprouted from her scapula

and her dentures dropped, orphan-like,
from her lips. High now, dangerously high,
she stretched out her supple wings
until they were as flat as an ironing board.

Sensing the far-off salty air, she hesitated
for a moment, then leapt into the wind. She circled
the house once, gliding over the FOR SALE sign
in the front yard as if she might just perch

there, before rising up again. My mother
felt her heart beat with wonder at the way
the rolling air held her aloft. Her nomadic eyes
scanned the darkening north and she flew away.

Andy Kissane was born in Melbourne but now he lives in Sydney. This poem is from his latest book 'Out To Lunch' published by Puncher & Wattmann.  


  1. This is an interesting poem, with the interweaving of the real and the surreal, or perhaps it's a poetic form of magic realism ...

  2. I love the description of her wings and the flying - and the last kiss on the father's cheek - the point of view is interesting: it seems to be a son/daughter watching but is then the mother herself, what she says and feels... giving it a dreamlike quality, I guess. Thanks Jen.