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Michalia Arathimos
New Zealand

Michalia Arathimos has recently completed her Masters in Creative Writing at Victoria University. She is currently the writer in residence at the Robert Lord Writer's Cottage in Dunedin. She is writing a novel about a Greek New Zealand family.

Sense of Place

What if I didn't list
those special objects
that make up a scene.

What if I left the walls
and the colours up to you,
a paint brush in your wee hand, a bunch
of interior design magazines. 

What if instead
of filling in the script
with very nice things like
the sea, of course, the indomitable
wind, searing at the blue room - sorry,

I said that was
your choice, didn't I, searing
at any rate at some
some-coloured room that forms
the backdrop that we sit in,

with who? My sweet one, you know what
to do, go on, take them,

the first two people that spring to mind, put them
in this room on the edge

of the abyss, tell them
to make a sound.


Written on the mirror in soap is the word tarn
this means a small clear lake where the water begins,
a barren mountain, something about a hill-
rock eaten where the glacial ice set in,

It is also a name; forget the boy
with the Baudelaire book and the
too-precious skin.

The Best of The Dogs

The dogs near my house
have started a rock band
the fox terrier is on percussion
the lab is the bass player
the greyhound sings a long, hipshot howl
of teen anxiety.

they clear and clear and clear
the morning air
scrubbing the gentility out
like a stain

galvanizing the local public
into doing something really radical
like writing a petition

and within days the church down the road
a non-denominational and all-inclusive church
for white straight married employed people

has denounced the dogs as the cause of
glue sniffing, some forms of graffiti
and children wagging school

and within some more days the newspapers are saying
that wasn't the dogs the favourite band
of that group of kids caught doing bad things
in the grave yard

and apparently a study has been done
proving that listening to dog music
at an early age
increases the risk of unwanted pregnancy

and the fox terrier
bowing to media pressure
flips out and bites a girl
who was wanting autographs
'he just attacked' her mother said,
'there was nothing I could do to stop him!'

and the fox terrier is taken to the pound
and the lab goes to live in Whangamata
but the greyhound still howls in the mornings, yes
but now he just sings the blues.