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The Red CupboardVicki Feaver
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Vol. 17 No. 8 · 20 April 1995
Poem

The Red Cupboard

Vicki Feaver

156 words

After Pierre Bonnard

The woman’s cupboard, she’s stocked
with jellies, chutneys, pickled limes

and bottles of blue-skinned plums
that just to look at is to taste

their sweet green flesh. Inset in the wall,
the inside’s painted the red of petals –

poppies, geraniums – of dream blood.
When she opens the white door

it’s like opening herself.
Among jars of quince and apple,

the red satin dress with a boned bodice
she wore as a girl; and multiplied behind,

down a long corridor of deepening reds,
the woman who each month either swelled

with a child, or felt the little burp
and bubble that began her flow.

And beyond, in black red fields,
her mother, and her grandmother,

and her grandmother’s mother –
a queue stretching back, back.

Some days, when she opens the door
on her riches, her gifts, her sumptuous store,

all that’s left
is the thick scent of blood.

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