Rose Mary Boehm

Rose Mary Boehm is a German-born British national living and writing in Lima, Peru, and author of two novels as well as six poetry collections. Her poetry has been published widely in mostly US poetry reviews (online and print). She was twice nominated for a Pushcart. DO OCEANS HAVE UNDERWATER BORDERS? (Kelsay Books July 2022) and WHISTLING IN THE DARK (Taj Mahal Publishing House July 2022), are both available on Amazon. Her seventh collection, SAUDADE, is going to be published by Kelsay before the year is out.


During the War, we made a wreath
with fresh pine twigs. Four candles. 
We always had candles because
the lights failed often, a power station
bombed perhaps. You never knew.

For the Advent wreath we needed
fat red ones, but white ones would do.
And I was allowed to light each one,
one every Advent Sunday, until
there were four, and Christmas
was only a second away.

I had an old Advent calendar from ‘before’,
before I was even born. Some of the little 
paper doors had already given in to use.
I knew the pictures behind them
by heart and yet looked forward to seeing
them again. Old friends. A promise
of wonders to come.

And there was little Baby Jesus, and his mum,
and the donkeys, camels, sheep, 
the shepherds and the star.
My uncle had whittled a crib for me.

One day the miracle became a story
like any other. 

For Sale

On Google Earth I can see
our old van rusting in the yard
and the profusion of honeysuckle
that smothered us with loveliness.

The huge green roof of leaves
is the walnut tree. I know that beneath
it is a bench on which it used to drop
its missiles every autumn.

The termites we ran out one by one
until we discovered a weapon
of mass destruction.
There was some guilt.

When I had breakfast with the wasps
in the fig tree, I knew I belonged.

Then the grapes rotted on the vines
because no-one turned up
for a bumper harvest.
We slipped on fallen olives.

During monsoon-like downpours
every hole in the roof filled our buckets
with rainwater and us with a hard kind of love,
until the tornado ripped a huge branch
from the apple tree leaving an open wound,
and the peach tree broke under
the weight of its fruit.

One day the well ran dry.

All that’s left is the letter box,
leaning forward like an old, broken man.

Letter to angst

It’s not as though
I’m missing you. In fact 
I am so very glad we are 
no longer travelling companions.
I don’t want to be unkind, 
but you have been my albatross,
an aliquant in my potential for happiness,
a fly in the ointment which ought to have
lubricated my Ferris wheel,
greased the cogs that moved my clockworks,
been rubbed into my aching wings.

Orion is my witness, the Hunter’s Moon
my mother confessor. In fact, the 
Milky Way used ear plugs when I sat
on that plastic boulder 
howling you into the night. 

My secret burden, I am glad you jumped ship
somewhere between Berlin and the Pleiades.
Wherever you hang out or on, be kind.
Go easy on the hosts that give you life.

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