We’ll Always Have Paris, I’ll Always Be The Main Character

On a beach in Torquay the sun fell like a ripened plum and
I picked up a shell broad and flat as someone else’s buttocks and for a laugh
I put the shell in my mouth and let my teeth thoughtfully test the waters of
its firm grittiness and I crunched down and broke it into craggy pieces and
chewed it into wet dust and swallowed it and
You didn’t even notice!
Not when I did it then and not when we flew back to New Zealand and
I showed you the beach whose tides shaped my ancestors and
I wrote the story in the sand of my deeds and misdeeds
and as the sun set on us again like jam dropping off a spoon I picked up another shell
to relive our little joke but one look at your face and
I knew it wasn’t worth it and I told the shell
“you get to live another day and you’re the only one here who will”

Otaua Gothic

they paved over all the holes that we used to fall into
the bowl of water on the ground is older than my brother

a film canister filled with honey
is buried below the compost heap
along with several cats
and the gurgling sound when he choked on the plastic tubing
and the whiplash scrape when I was caught by the neck
with a wire clothesline
as a horse bolted beneath it

everything white must turn to rust — pulling the leaves off hedges with spite
running in circles as penance — concrete embossed skin
drinking from a brown glass bottle you found in the hay barn — it fills your mouth with dirt and wet cigarette butts — the nearest adult could never hear you cry

bursts of hot tar — hands so cold you forget the alphabet — cloth stained with linseed oil
a chalice stuffed with newspaper — throwing petals into spiderwebs — fences like wasps —
gates that only open inwards

falling out of trees
just to get attention

Laura Vincent (Ngāti Māhanga) lives in the middle of nowhere in Aotearoa. She has a fourteen year old food blog called hungryandfrozen.com, with poetry and fiction published in Peach Magazine, The Spinoff, Shirley Magazine, Turbine|Kapohau, Muswell Press' Queer Life, Queer Love Anthology, and more. Laura is editing a poetry collection and her first novel, and wants nothing more than for someone to tell her they're finished.