Poetry for the soul
Poetry for the soul

BooksOctober 16, 2015

Books: The Friday Poem – Action lines, by Ashleigh Young

Poetry for the soul
Poetry for the soul

Action lines


I’d thought we would go up as those bright

inflatable men that ripple in car yards

jack-knifing from the waist, then up with the flags.

I’d thought we’d go up easy, actions lines coming out of us.

Now I know leaving will take more effort.

We blow up the air dancer by mouth

and just as he’s full enough to take up his rightful position,

we black out on the ground. Later, without fanfare

someone presses his ear to our torso

while someone else picks at the ancient knots in our laces


Out where the towels I’ve forgotten grow damp again

I see the dirt digging itself up

and becoming an animal. Wind shakes a tree

in greeting and a lone bucket empties itself

of seasonal debris before coming, hollow, to a close.

In the yellow window you are looking

for the source of the water in the fridge

and your hands grow numb as pegs in grass.

When I feel the scratch of towel-caught crickets

on my arms these things become diffuse again

as rain reversing into a driveway


I will wait for this to become less strange.

That I live in a small city and yet so often there are

six other Ashleigh Youngs in the database.

That I fall over the same lip of footpath

and my knees, ever opened, assume


an exasperated expression.

That the nights grow up too fast


That the joke is old and yet I still wake up

to find you putting your work boots on my feet.

Perhaps this is the day I will take your place. Yes, this is the day.

I still hope we’ll be huge and hilarious, rippling, up with the flags

our arms a stream of jelly snakes in the sky.

We will no longer have to come to terms with the fact

that we are probably just ordinary

The Spinoff Review of Books is proudly brought to you by Unity Books, recently named 2020 International Book Store of the Year, London Book Fair, and Creative New Zealand. Visit Unity Books Wellington or Unity Books Auckland online stores today. 

Mad Chapman, Editor
Aotearoa continues to adapt to a new reality and The Spinoff is right there, sorting fact from fiction to bring you the latest updates and biggest stories. Help us continue this coverage, and so much more, by supporting The Spinoff Members.Madeleine Chapman, EditorJoin Members

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