blackmail press 37
Elizabeth Morton
New Zealand

Mere & Child - Penny Howard
Elizabeth Morton is a poet and student on Auckland's North Shore. She has been published in JAAM, Poetry NZ, Takahe and Debris.

paddocks flooded with cochineal,
feral horses grinding
pinecones with their teeth.
a woodshack and, in the doorway,
a woman sitting with a television.

while watching Country Calendar
she whittles fruit into quadrupeds.

a eucalypt stands through
all the commercial breaks
with his hands in his pockets.


in the silent house he keeps
a mouthful of sparrows.

he swills detergents
to rinse them out,

inhales woodsmoke and

he has scrubbed his
tongue with a bottlebrush,

used cottonbuds and sponges.
the more he pushes

the deeper they roost.
nowadays, the dawn chorus

rattles from his ribs.
he holds the sky in his belly.

when he exhales, birds pour
over the neighbourhood,

quivering in chimneypots and
straddling tv aerials.

now and then he swallows
them back, as if by accident.

the softest matador

i am a watercolour, always.
my skin splits into the oleander bush.
my hair blends into a cloud.
i am pieces thrown to the bulls.
my hip bone, my ribs, bleed
into the bovine tongues.
i am the softest matador
you'll ever see, throwing my
pink rags into the wind.
bulls follow me like broken men.
i have pressed my banderilla into
their collars and been forgiven.
i am a watercolour, always
weeping in the bullring,
consoled only by beasts and
the empty clapping of castanets.