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Marisa Cappetta
Italy/ New Zealand

Moka's Utu - Penny Howard
I was born in Rome, have lived in the USA, Australia and New Zealand. I am a visual artist, with a degree from Curtin University in Western Australia, majoring in jewellery/metal.  I am enrolled at The Hagley Writers’ Institute for 2011
one-handed woman

she played on hand
with a subterranean god
and he won

he climbed up
her umbilical cord
out of her mother’s navel
carrying her hand
in his teeth

she told everyone
she tied string tightly
around her wrist
and her hand withered

she hates to admit
she lost it
in a card game

look I can play piano
look I can slice apples
look I give birth
all with one hand
tied behind my back

she still has a stump
to work with
meanwhile the god
buried her hand
under a glacier

it clenches and hurls
fire as ice smoke
at planes passing by

emissary to a neighbouring kingdom

My king is exiled to the valley of felled trees,
their cut faces a still concentrated odour
of vertiginous mountains of logs.

My king types with the two fingers
not yet petrified, he pleads his case.
I wait with empty satchel his last loyal,

as one dispatch after another joins the fluster
of discarded attempts. Rain soaks him,
the timber and leaches black pools underfoot.

He writes in the code of wood and instructs me
to deliver his missive with a faint tang of two stroke,
where the fanfare of chainsaw textures the air.

My king waits alone with the sun-heated timber,
a miasma rises from the pools that surround him.
Steaming, they smell like formaldehyde.

the parson falls in love and goes mad

my head is the fulcrum
where the beam rests

in one pan of the scale
a caged cricket in the other a branch of thyme

I’m looking for the sacramental
wafers and decanter of wine

while  balancing a caged cricket
and a branch of thyme

I’m looking for my lost congregation
the kneelers and the pews

while balancing a caged cricket
and a branch of thyme

I’m looking for my vestments
lost in the maelstrom

while balancing a caged cricket
and a branch of thyme

one left for a hero

a crouch of sky
hovers above him
a green-grey puddle
where the sun should be

his arms are bridges
he uses them to scale
the rubble walking like
a grounded bat
on a search and rescue
for his son

his arms collapse
into wings of isinglass
he scans broken terrain
from the air he sees movement
in a pile of car bodies

The Water Gleaners

I am Titania.
Water filled me when I was young
and my husband loved me.

We have acres of rich aquifers,
skilled water carriers grow lilies on our
river bank estates for the orange pollen
I dust on my sex.

Because of his suspicion
fresh water has become the leachate
of legal wrangling. My husband hates children
he cleanses them from in-stream islands and measures
their dry weight against alimony,

he split the basket carrying shingle
to the breeding ground, damming the flow.
Only driftwood remains for anglers to fillet.

He claims everything
river, lake and sea,
sucks on water segments and
leaves me to dry birth.

I hide his child, my mustard seed.
She and I eke out a living
gathering the remains of rain.