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Photography: Sarah Reed
Carole Nelson Phillips

Carole Nelson Phillips has been writing for four years. She has had work published in the NZ Listener, the Mozzie and Saltlick Quarterly. She has two grown children, lives in rural New Zealand and is raising her two year old grandchild. She writes and works with clay when she can.
I'll show her colour not shadow

she calls me from midday heat
I follow the sounds she makes
leave a half eaten sandwich
basket of green walnuts

the room is dim
stillness broken by
the small girl twirling
bare except for a nappy
luminous as she spins

funny how she remembers
your sarong hip sway
the cattle lined road
every friday drive
a routine she can't name

it snapped today
she's in bed early

I've a skin full of bourbon
run out of drugs
a letter on the sideboard
red ink from your wife
& I'm spinning luminous

it's everything everyone said

repentance in 36 degrees

walked barefoot
on a gravel road
past willows
& wild fruit
climbed down
a steep bank
to the river

placed stones
in a circle
lit a small fire
counted my sins
gathered bunches
of nightshade

watched berries burst
leaves, stems
curl & burn
crushed them
to ash
covered my body

lay in a pool
thought of
appropriate words
whispered them
to birds above
& the eel
who brushed
my thigh

rose from the water
murmured into the ear
of a yellow dog
he licked my feet
& hands

he followed me home

perhaps an act of ceremony
(with thanks to richard zola)

from the window
i watch her
ash grows long
on my cigarette

she stands focused
plucks flat seed
purses from
honesty plants
fills her green bucket
handle draped over
her forearm

walks toward
stone steps
leading up
to the front door
avoids bees
on lavender
scatters seed purses
on each step

ash falls
to the floor
her eyes lift
to the window

behind me
an easel & paints
a yellow bow

she will be 2
on monday
hasn't seen
her mother
since this garden
was lifeless
except for leaves
turning red

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