Doctor’s Bag – a poem by Lisa Reily

LISA REILY

Doctor’s Bag

Black, or was it brown?
A doctor’s bag pushed into the dust
of my parent’s wardrobe,
faux crocodile skin,
shiny belt buckle clasped tight.
Inside its leathery smell,
my father’s heavy film projector,
our 8mm home movies
hidden under empty canisters,
tangled reels loose with life.
Cheezels and green cordial
on family nights in our lounge room,
watching dad’s careful hands
feed tongues of film
into the complaining machine;
the click-click-click of it,
each frame appearing, gone,
a flicker of life over.
Images live
on the only wall my mother has not covered
with gold floral wallpaper,
voiceless moments
my father later kept from all of us;
a way to contain me,
but never hear my voice.
This doctor’s bag held my life,
and my mother, who wanted out;
when she left,
my father held onto it,
his only leverage to get her back,
soundless memories choked
into strips of film.

Doctor’s Bag by Lisa Reily won 3rd prize in the Sentinel Literary Quarterly Poetry Competition (May 2018) judged by Derek Adams

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