Oct/Nov 2016 Poetry

Frank and Dinah
Knarf and Hanid

by Marjorie Mir

Image courtesy of the British Library Online Photo Collection

Frank and Dinah
Knarf and Hanid

Surprising as if I had found
pictured intact, our kitchen
as it was when I was four,
the stove on long curved legs,
refrigerator crowned
by a grill-work drum,
green capacious cupboard,
holding in its storage bins
the flour and sugar of birthday cakes.

Here an easel-stand blackboard
near the chimney wall
and there, my grandmother shelling peas:
almost as surprising as finding
a touchstone of my childhood
I thought was only mine
spelled out, described and known.

These were stories
my mother read to me
from our local evening paper;
Knarf and Hanid, unruly shadows
of Dinah and Frank,
slipping free of their owners
whenever they pleased,
wearing their turnabout names.

Now I know from an off-chance
search that other children
waited for the paper to arrive,
leaned against their mothers
as they read, said the names together
in kitchens that might well have held
grandmothers and colanders,
potatoes bobbing, suppers begun,
a chimney's hidden warmth,
and all our shadows runaways
in winter's early dark.


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