blackmail press 33
Elizabeth Welsh
New Zealand

Tui Taonga 1-5 Penny Howard
Elizabeth Welsh is a freelance editor and poet from New Zealand. She has been published in a number of print and online magazines and is currently working on a chapter to be published in an upcoming essay collection on Katherine Mansfield.
Geography course on fossils from Antarctica

Now, my litany includes ‘seed-bearing’,
and I hear the collected sigh unroll like the sea that brought me.

They seem implicated, somehow, these seeds and bulbs and harvest notes -
I wore them, nonplussed; but now seem burdened, less haled.

It is the legacy of me, as I am traced in course-books, annuals, geographical studies;
seeds mean so much to so many.

But you would take me without seed;
you would not run the tips of your fingers over the spores, hesitate & take a microscope to me.

No, you still gaze at my flocked arms, all that greenness,
drink it in & leave the matter of seeds behind.

How illustrators learn to draw underwater

Nothing floats here. To bob,
like to grow, means a brief bump
upwards, once, before your arms
become petrified.
There is no pectin in your blood,
no tool to equip you against rising liquid & arms
that you thought were hooked up to nerve endings,
but it turns out that you were wrong.
And it takes seeing translucent undergrowth
to understand this.
All those physics principles lied.
Or maybe you misjudged the body,
which is not cork-like after all,
and, in fact, listens to your thoughts
when you wondered what shade
of purple or black you should use,
illustrating the phosphorescent silt
and weed and beds
where your body settles you now,
and you finally get to see penguins
diving under the bright gas-bottle blue water
- who would have thought? -
and you think, well, this is a start.