i) shell like a cicada

males woo with severed arms
the argonauts

red krill pulsate
dancing pixels, waving paddles

those pellucid homes
evasive calcite ships

plume of cephalopod
traversing water columns

clinging chains of salps
a tentacle dances on her mantle

iii) flared lip
a massive
conch shell graveyard imagine crunch
ing those porcelain lips departed sisters
of hulls white meat pulled like string
skim over maiden middens the exposed midriffs of virgin islands crack
open pink chests to the dead

Lily Holloway is a 22-year-old English Honours student and Teaching Assistant at the University of Auckland. You can find her most recent work in Starling, Scum, The Pantograph Punch, Aniko Press and other miscellaneous literary places (including her website, In 2020 she was honoured to receive the Shimon Weinroth Prize in Poetry, the Kendrick Smithyman Scholarship for Poetry and second place in the Charles Brasch Young Writers’ Essay Competition.


ii) underwater

i dream of whales
those great black tongues
swooping under archways
& over tarmac
in a submerged cbd
a skyscraper
made out of a single sheet of polished paua

watch a carrier crab use a tiny urchin as a shield
a mardi gras hat, an offering
there are shipworms longer than your arm
buried in the mud & encased in shell
found in sulfurous lagoons
bacteria live in their gills &
scientists thwuck it out
and have you considered the soft-shell crab?