Eunice de Souza: Meeting poets

“Meeting poets I am disconcerted sometimes 

by the colour of their socks 

the suspicion of a wig 

the wasp in the voice 

and an air, sometimes, of dankness. 

Best to meet in poems: 

cool speckled shells 

in which one hears 

a sad but distant sea.” 

—Eunice de Souza. 

Eunice de Souza: Catholic mother

Father X. D’Souza 

Father of the year. 

Here he is top left 

the one smiling. 

By the Grace of God he says 

we’ve had seven children 

(in seven years). 

We’re One Big Happy Family 

God Always Provides 

India will Suffer for 

her Wicked Ways 

(these Hindu buggers got no ethics) 
Pillar of the Church 

says the parish priest 

Lovely Catholic Family 

says Mother Superior 
the pillar’s wife 

says nothing.
—Eunice de Souza. 

Eunice de Souza: Sweet Sixteen

Sweet Sixteen

Well, you can’t say

they didn’t try.

Mamas never mentioned menses.

A nun screamed: You vulgar girl

don’t say brassieres

say bracelets.

She pinned paper sleeves

onto our sleeveless dresses.

The preacher thundered:

Never go with a man alone

Never alone

and even if you’re engaged

only passionless kisses.
At sixteen, Phoebe asked me:

Can’t it happen when you’re in a dance hall

I mean, you know what,

getting preggers and all that, when

you’re dancing?

I, sixteen, assured her

you could.

—Eunice de Souza. 

Eunice de Souza: Miss Louise

Miss Louise

She dreamt of descending

curving staircases

ivory fan aflutter

of children in sailor suits

and organza dresses

till the dream rotted her innards

but no one knew:

innards weren’t permitted

in her time.

Shaking her graying ringlets:

“My girl, I can’t even

go to Church you know

I unsettle the priests

so completely. Only yesterday

that handsome Fr Hans was saying,

‘Miss Louise, I feel an arrow

through my heart.’

But no one will believe me

if I tell them. It’s always

Been the same. They’ll say,

‘Yes Louisa, we know, professors

loved you in your youth,

judges in your prime.’”

—Eunice de Souza. 

Eunice de Souza: Bequest

Bequest

In every Catholic home there’s a picture

of Christ holding his bleeding heart

in his hand.

I used to think, ugh.
the only person with whom

I have not exchanged confidences

is my hairdresser.
Some recommend stern standards,

others say float along.

He says, take it as it comes,

meaning, of course, as he hands it out.
I wish I could be a

Wise Woman

smiling endlessly, vacuously

like a plastic flower,

saying Child, learn from me.
It’s time to perform an act of charity

to myself,

bequeath the heart, like a

spare kidney –

preferably to an enemy.
—Eunice de Souza.