MESH AND MYTH
Poems on Relationship:
A suite of ten poems
by ELIZABETH TESSIER
Here’s to the things we store yet in a chest
once held dear by our beloved dead.
What truths are folded with them in their rest?
this ballast that we carry in our head.
What once were anchor, compass, now dry-docked,
relics that hold stories for our lives.
I open it sometimes when I am bored,
but this time I find added things inside.
My love has curated the former hoard.
By his father’s pocket watch I find
a T-shirt that our son once dearly loved.
I lift the lid and see into his mind,
my journal by his mother’s wedding gloves.
He is my keel that steadies me at sea.
This chest of hope he’s filled with memories.
I was finishing my M.A. thesis
as my mother stitched my wedding gown.
I was thinner with each fitting.
Mouth full of pins she said
I don’t have AIDS.
It blindsided me
that she even feared she did.
That’s good news isn’t it?
I asked and her word was
but her tone unsure.
My TB titer was acting up
and they thought I might have AIDS.
She re-pinned the sleeve
and pinched in the bodice
evenly on both sides.
I have never been one
to ask enough questions
especially when I fear the answers.
And I was caught up in
my solipsistic veil.
Post death and divorce
the dress lies, shantung regret,
the skin of my
Elizabeth Tessier is a Hamilton poet. Her work is informed by her 30 years working in Hamilton museums and her current life with early onset Parkinson’s. She has previously published in Hamilton Arts &Letters and in Evenings on Paisley Avenue: Seven Hamilton Poets. Her self-published book, The Words They Cannot Say, inspired by her years at Dundurn Castle, was edited by her friend and mentor Marilyn Gear-Pilling and includes photos taken for the work by Jeff Tessier. Her most recent publication was a chapbook entitled Frozen Charlotte published by Frog Hollow Press edited by Shane Neilson as part of their Dis/Ability series. Special thanks to Hamilton’s Bernadette Rule for her interest, time, and energy around this suite of ten poems appearing in HA&L RAVE.