I was two days old when my mother left me in a pram outside Stammers & went home. She said she felt oddly lighter though it took a while to realise what was missing. Nobody noticed me. I might have been a window. For those twenty minutes the separation slipped by me. Mum was on her knees scrubbing floors in a convent by age seven. Her mother had been left in an orphanage & so it goes. Back to coda. You left a daughter with nuns & sailed away on your violin. So many women with habits that would never be broken. Minnie was the one who put my grandmother in an orphanage, ran around town with a gangster. He caught her fear by the hair, shot it through the temple. How carelessly/joyously she was losing her religion. I grew up with an irrational fear of nuns the way my dog always ran when I so much as reached for a violin. He saw right through me that morning as he watched me pack & leave my first husband. I know how I’m marked, how I can vanish.
Shey Marque’s collection, Keeper of the Ritual (UWA Publishing 2019) was shortlisted for the Noel Rowe Poetry Award 2017. She is the inaugural recipient of QPF’s Emerging Older Poet Award.