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.

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

Get The Spinoff
in your inbox