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Jeni Curtis
New Zealand

Moka's Utu - Penny Howard
Dr Jeni Curtis teaches English at St Andrew’s College, Christchurch, New Zealand. She has a keen interest in Victorian literature and history. She is President of the Christchurch branch of the Dickens Fellowship, and editor of their magazine, Dickens Down Under. She has published poems in the Christchurch Press and International Literature Quarterly.  She is currently enrolled in the Hagley Community College Writers Course.
Just another one of those days

That old hand is here again
Pushing down
Pushing down

Leaden limbs
Not cold and polished marble
By Bernini
Heavy, grey
Grey and heavy
Like lead
Leaden limbs

The head a hive
Thoughts swarm, buzz, fly
Hover, swarm
Angry bees

Some time about then

That old hand is here again
Pushing down.

Empty Nest

Brass doorhandle, grubby gold
Fingerprints on polished rimu,
Smudges of past hands passing.

The green chair, seats two, now one,
Brocaded cloth the colour of old forests,
Leaves looped and curling.  Time.

Gaudy splash of colour on glass table,
The magazine heralds another step to uncertainty,
Screams war, weapons, world!

Reflected in the mirror, grape-purple glass flask,
Stopper like a rounded jewelled stone,
A present, magical, from children, long ago.

Outside, children play, teasing
Laughter, rattle of skateboards,
The occasional murmur of a passing car.

Photograph in cracked eggshell frame
Grey, white, fragile yet strong like children’s
Laughter on a beach, leaping shining waves.

Through the window, the lawn lies parched,
Seer yellowness of summer,
Dandelions, heads high, defiant.

“The grass needs mowing again,” says Sophie.
Link of past and present, here, now, gone.
“I’ll see to it tomorrow,” I reply.