Photo: Getty Images
Photo: Getty Images

BooksJune 25, 2021

The Friday Poem: Stroke, by Mary Macpherson

Photo: Getty Images
Photo: Getty Images

A new poem from Wellington poet and photographer Mary Macpherson.


sometimes / I read the magnet on the fridge / with the screaming door / skid
over the emergency instructions / reaching for sugar / in sticky Perspex /
sometimes see the worry clock – really a stethoscope? / it’s lunchtime / in the
kitchen with the yellow bench / plates / were they patterned blue ? / of rosy
baked beans /  when my mother rises and staggers / calls my father’s name,
twice / why do I remember twice? / sometimes it’s a day with a wide sky /
rocks slipping underfoot / lurching beside the grey ocean calm /
remembering my knee is driftwood / sometimes push up the hill with sides
like a pudding bowl / swim in blue water under the high roof / steady dog
head / I believe swimming counts more / in the dark room her head tosses /
side to side / wonder why I went back to work / was someone kind? /
sometimes stride to the furthest bus stop / swinging my arms / stuff my
mouth with lettuce / copy quotes out of context / old ghosts come instead /
there is less life to lead / sometimes I’m a stubborn beetle on a wall / always
falling down / my mother pale in hospital / someone says she’s got a strong
will / is she gripping a rope back to us? / or I read the world wrong / can’t
speak / wonder if I’m living the life I want / lime tea steaming in white cup /
far off hills regenerating bush / sky outlining lips / or I’m in a cupboard / face
turned away / sometimes grinding up the big hill / breath in my lungs / look
out on yet more hills / distant houses / sometimes / tiny kitchens


The Friday Poem is edited by Chris Tse. Submissions are currently closed and will open again later this year.

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