Chagall’s birthday is yours every day

For Anna Kannava

In Dreams for Life you lived –
ran up and down the Metro
Kissing Paris
camera hidden in your coat
gendarmes at your heels

The first time I come to see you
your brother lets me in.
From behind him, you smile
offer curled fingers to cup mine,
pouty mouth to tap my cheeks
then turn to your brother and say, ‘meet The Butler
and he laughs.

Your loungeroom, lamplit
a green blanket warms your shoulders
and a two-meter frame cascades
down one wall –
Chagall’s Birthday
is yours, every day.

The next time I come
your curled fingers
tap the keyboard
as Eros dances in true type
across the screen.
Today Stephanos of Limassol
is awaiting his fate.

When I know you well
I come to stay.
We watch Shah Rukh Khan
bollydance for you
while you script
him into your next fantasy.

When I know you well
I put you to bed
keep an ear out for your footsteps at night.
Your bedroom carries comfort
in a mattress and pillow that waits
to receive your aching body
your boa constrictor skin.

When I know you well
I help you lie on your side
and talk to you
about the floaty kiss
from the man in the green coat
who twists his neck to reach those lips.

Before you leave you say
‘my box of bijou is for you’.
the butler gives me
your slender night table
and the crocheted daisy
you pinned to every coat you wore.

Chagall’s Birthday
is yours, every day
her eyes
are your eyes
accepting the bliss
of that kiss.

NOTE: Anna Kannava (1959-2011) was an Australian indie filmmaker and author. Here is a tribute to her extraordinary life and work by fellow filmmaker, Bill Mousoulis https://annakannava.com/

Helena Spyrou lives in Melbourne on the land of the Kulin nation. Her stories and poems have been published in anthologies, journals and magazines.