JOHANNA EMENEY

Captions

Some of the pages
have empty mountings
still with captions 
under their bare grey squares:
FIRST COACH JIM HELPED TO BUILD
TOWNHALL CERTIFICATE-GIVING—
far more mysterious 
than those with photos
of MR AND MRS DUNNE AT OURS
and VIOLET ON TINKER,
but less compelling 
than the ones labelled ME

just in case anyone wonders
who hid behind a leafy tree,
swung, in a bathing suit,
from ropes attached to the sky,
or peeked out
behind steely-headed MOTHER,
who stands,
arms folded, 
in front of a house
called INVICTA.

Johanna Emeney is an Auckland poet, teacher and creative writing doctoral student. She co-tutors with her friend and colleague Rosalind Ali on the Michael King Young Writers Programme, established by the late Dame Christine Cole Catley. Her collection of poems Apple & Tree was published by Cape Catley in 2011.

Emeney comments: ‘I wrote the first draft of “Captions” while I looked through my late mother’s childhood photograph album. The family stories have it that my mum had been a very timid girl, with a stern, unforgiving adoptive mother. It struck me as typical of the self-effacing Mum I knew, too, that she would write so carefully underneath the photographs of everyone else, describing whom and what, whereas under her own pictures there was just a “ME”.’

Poem source details >

 

Links

‘Captions’ at Blackmail Press