Ernestine Comvalius: Aunties

By: Ernestine Comvalius

Ernestine Comvalius

From the program ‘Motherhood’ at Woorden van West festival 2022


They wear batik dresses
Plait their hair into box braids
Admonish you
With their eyes
Often ask: did you eat enough?

At times they fish
Angling for the back of your tongue
Seizing you from wreckage
They catch you and say:
Mother is just a title
Sometimes Mother resembles
a worn-out spine

They drink wine
They laugh their teeth out of their faces
Sitting on Pandora’s box
Whispering family recipes in your ear

They dance obliquely,
at the diagonal,
Evermore so

That’s how they are
The  aunties

Sometimes their lip stick
That time you ask them:
Who is my father?
Then again
When you carry them across the gravel path