An Absence of Saints by Rosanna Licari

By Rosanna Licari

Full of beautiful lyrical and narrative poems, this thought-provoking assortment explores a number of topics, together with the experience of belonging, the human , relatives, being a stranger, love and wish, and beginnings and endings. Divided into 3 sections delineating the author's preoccupations along with her family members heritage in Europe, youth, and the purchase and processing of expertise, this compilation—inspired by means of the poet’s mom, Sofia, who's the topic of numerous works—also deals perception into lifestyles after immigration to Australia.

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Nothing. Mother still tells me she regrets not putting an extra ‘s’ in my name. As if Rosanna wasn’t different enough. indd 44 28/04/10 3:34 PM Offerings My mother gives me a stiff look then mouths say you like them as her friend pulls the hand-me-downs out of the plastic bag: skirts hang over the knees necklines clutch at the throat, no boots or red bags, only stitched, zipped, buttoned cloth that hems my body, and my posture spells ingratitude to Mother. indd 45 28/04/10 3:34 PM His friend sang fuoco, fuochetto Father’s instruction to me was always simple: no playing with matches, and Are the stove and heater switched off?

We tread water and they give cheek to the girls, dive in, do handstands then swim fifty metres with the ease of falling. The eldest takes me by the shoulders and threatens me with a dunking. In the deep end: the slow slides, the grimaces, the adolescent grab of the leg. It’s a game. 2. harbour From the bridge, city lights are more intimate than the breeze. In the back seat, my face at the window, I count pylons stamped across the sky, then the steel snaps in the middle like a twig. The world flattens into an ancient map, cars fall into black sea.

He has come too far. Canoes scrape against rocks that jut from wet sand like heads. ‘Indians’ slam stone knives into oysters clamped to boulders. indd 33 28/04/10 3:34 PM The midshipman feels cold, takes the dead birds from the sack, and sets them at the woman’s feet. The blood-stained feathers touch her skin. He steps back into the scrub. indd 34 28/04/10 3:34 PM Strangers 1. learning the new language, pre-school The teacher motions me down as the children stare. The clank of metal chain against swing, I scrape my heels into dirt to stop, look at the sparrows chattering on the church roof next door.

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