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Elizabeth Coleman
New Zealand

Tui Taonga 1-5 Penny Howard
Elizabeth Coleman lives in Waikanae and writes poetry, short stories, travel observations and creative non-fiction.   She has been published in Short & Twisted, 4th Floor 2009, Swings & Roundabouts, Dear to Me, Red Alert and NZPS Anthologies.   She was one of seven women poets in a collaborative exhibition and performance for Matariki, "Eyes in the Skies" in Palmerston North, July 2009.
I check the dog for fleas

It's all in aid of a clean start
since the resolution thing
has no appeal - probably
because of past failures.

Bidding adieu to garments
worn to comfortable soft friends
sulking in squashed boxes,
a handbag, the rice cooker I don't need -
it's for a microwave and
I have no microwave now.
It went at the last clean start
when I fretted over stuff
in it that could harm
more than when I used it.

That's what it's like.
Life.  Worrying about
your wisdom afterwards
always afterwards.
So I check the dog for fleas
wash her bedding
bathe her, groom her
think future for her.
My new calendar I corset in birthdays
and enter the command, each quarter:
Flea/Worm Dog.  It dawns on me
I love no-one born in May.

KL to AKL 

It seems that mothers have a need
the man beside me agreed
to feed you -
his Malaysian
mine English -
stuffing their sixty-somethings
sending them
homeward carrying
gifts of bellies' excess
great burdens of their need
to feed you   do
what mothers
feel a need to

On finding an immature cone at the tip of a fallen pine branch

I sit on the fallen trunk,  watch
you and your small hatchet
beat hard pinecones off

and hold a dimpled, nipple-like
erect soft aubergine bulb of a thing
that could sit in the cup of a tongue

I watch your mouth
the way you hold it
in that  tight concentrating way

sometimes the wet pink
tip of your tongue
pokes sideways out

stroked  by tree-breeze
our third age antics
buoy and amuse me

we hold hands
we pull and heave together
drag our sack to the car

A Joke

At the Library I get side-
tracked by A Good Handful
NZ poems about sex.

As if to approve
the coffee machine orgasms
"Ouch, it's hot" huffs a woman.

I press my book flat so no-one
no-one can see its title.
I enjoy the sex - poems, that is -

subdue my smile;  the women
one sipping, one silently reading.
A stubbled man biased on one

buttock caresses Sports Jokes 2
but the jokes don't do it
as far as I can tell

and I press the thin book down.
Coffee woman sips 200 Garden Plants
the other's volume too weighty for sex

flat on a sensible lap
yet a sweet expression, her tongue
wets her lips, her chest rises

and falls, shocking pink with pearls.
I laugh at the sex. They glance up.
My book funny.


fantail fast
above a chair back
small black crown
surprised boot-button eyes
and gone

                           Mother declares my
   visits are so scarce
   she wonders was I
   there or did she
   imagine it

I wish for a glad shy
brown-oiled girl
to call the soft curl
of a name
reclaim her child
but there's no such song

   I long to hug
   my mother