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Photography: Sarah Reed
Joy Green

Joy Green has been writing poetry and fiction most of her life. She tasted her first publication sucess in the parish magazine at the age of nine, though there was something of a long wait for her next acceptance. Over the last twenty or so years, she has placed work in anthologies and magazines in the UK, New Zealand, Australia, Scandinavia and the US and since immigrating to New Zealand in 1994 has been earning her living from writing, one way or another. When she isn't installed in front of her computer, typing frantically, she teaches Creative Writing at Massey University, runs a second-hand bookshop at the weekends, edits an online literary magazine called "Extraverse" and looks on in bemused fascination while her husband competes in endurance sports events. She's tired, most of the time.


A product of the seventies,
post-hippy, pre-cynic
I embrace causes.
Politics, attitude,
peace -
all Green.

I reuse, recycle,
third-world children.
I campaign –
for rainforests
against debt.

I spend
countless cheques,
tons of time
in Trade Aid stores,
and charity catalogues
buying biodiversity.

And yet …

I would not weep
the extinction of sand-flies.

my mother is an onion, my wife is a sardine

"You remind me of a sardine," he said.

Well, I was hurt.
If he had to compare me to a fish
(A fish for goodness sake!)
Surely, surely, he could have chosen
Something with a little class?

A salmon, maybe,
Majestically battling adversity --
Struggling upstream towards fulfilment.
Or a trout, with
Sun sparkling off of
Kaleidoscopic, rainbow scales.

He could have called me a shark, swift and dangerous,
A peacockish angel fish,
Or perhaps, a regal koi
Any of these, I thought,
Would be a simile that I could accept.

But a sardine?
Hardly glamorous,
Hardly flattering.
A work-a-day, dull fish
and - which is worse -
A convenient fish.

He smiled and lifted a hand,
touched my cheek.
"I like sardines," he said.

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