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BooksJanuary 22, 2021

The Friday Poem: Her uncle’s eye by Jenny Powell

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A new poem from Dunedin poet Jenny Powell.

Her uncle’s eye

She introduced us
to her uncle’s eye
floating in a jar.

Lost in an accident, he hadn’t wanted
to lose it again. He left it to her in his will.

We must have looked shocked. ‘Don’t worry,’
she said. ‘I turn him to the wall when I’m dressing.’

He watched a movie with us on the wide screen –
One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest
we’d all analysed the book apart from him.

I gave out copies of questions to discuss.
I could tell he was gaining control of us.

I tried to clear that idea away, but he eyed me
with suspicion. I viewed him with derision

and wondered aloud about knocking him over
which just popped out of its own accord.
‘He seems to take care of himself’ she said.

He joined us at the table for pot luck tea
feasting his eye on our food, stealing my appetite.

I thought of Cuckoo where the Chief escapes
by smashing the window. I hoped the eye

couldn’t read my mind or see his future.
Before I knew it, I’d hatched a plan
to totally alter her Uncle’s point of view.

I’d give the eye my share of the wine
to let him become blind drunk.

I waited until she was out of sight
to begin the pour.
Under the lid a label read

One flew over the cuckoo’s nest.


The Friday Poem is edited by Chris Tse. Submissions are currently closed and will open again in March 2021.

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Mad Chapman, Editor
The Spinoff has covered the news that matters in 2021, most recently the delta outbreak. Help us continue this coverage, and so much more, by supporting The Spinoff Members.Madeleine Chapman, EditorJoin Members

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