On Fitzherbert Bridge
I can smell silage
and there is a pukeko
brilliant on the bank below.
How noisy the guardrail is
in this wind—it chatters
like a cacophony of tent pegs.
The silk scarf
slides off my head
into my pocket.
she leaves the bookshop
he smiles after her
opens a book
Four White Coffee Cups and Saucers
The chink of the cups in their saucers woke me up
although of course I was really asleep. The tall man
preoccupied with crockery said—I’m setting out the
coffee cups. One cup for each of your four husbands.
How very odd. Who on earth dreams these things up?
The garden gnome is not weeping
after all, head in a corner, hands up
to his painted face, his pointy beard.
He is playing hide and seek, counting
up to one hundred, or maybe more.
That face already like his father.
In the deep bliss of the uterus.
Asleep in a sleep unlike any other.
Outside the Library
She was screaming into her phone
wrangling a toddler and a baby.
The toddler kicked his ball right
to my feet so she stooped for it.
She was blind with rage and as
she stood she yelled into my face
—They’re your children too!
And off she went in a maelstrom of
phone, ball, toddler, baby, stroller.
A plane flies down behind the hill.
Another plane rises from behind the hill.
What they are doing behind the hill must be presumed.
They disappear, they appear.
The chairs gather
at my volatility.
In the Polio Ward
A child in splendid isolation
sitting on her white bed
saw the day moving slowly
and the night come down
she learned to love
and how to be alone.
She walked her Long-Nosed Vacuum Cleaner
over the zebra crossing in a midnight street
from one office block to another office block.
The mare and foal
are on a string
until the string snaps.
strolling in the Mall
is dressed by the Mall.
Nearly everything that was written for ten years
stared at that wall. It was unforgiving red brick.
But it became more subtle and various in time.
Two armlengths away, thirty feet up in the air.
A long square of texture and the light creeping
from day to night and then back to day again.
A quarrel downstairs
intimate as a village.
A glass bottle smashing in the lightwell
a slippery hand
groping on the windowledge.
His music next door
an afternoon of the same album
over and over and over.
As the wall stared.