blackmail press 34
Marisa Cappetta
New Zealand

spirits of the forest  Vanya Taule'alo
Marisa is the winner of the 2011 Hagley Writers’ Institute Margaret Mahy prize and completed year two at Hagley in 2012.  Her poetry has been published in Crest to Crest Anthology of Canterbury Poets, Takahē, The Press, InterlitQ, Enamel, Shot Glass Journal, Voiceprints 3, Snorkel, Blackmail Press, Turbine and Landfall. She has been a guest reader for the Launch of Phantom Billstickers Christchurch, Beat Street Poetry, the Canterbury Poets Collective, Woman Scream International Poetry Festival and Moveable Beats in Philadelphia.  She is on the boards of the Canterbury Poets Collective and Takahē Magazine.

The Salt

We refer to the saline paddock as the salt.
I am like the salt, too saline for love’s grazing.

Swamp oaks desalinate. I sow them in a row
under the skin of my forearm, raised vein-roots spread.

The roots, firm under my skin, sip the brackishness.
My water table retreats, salt retreats, all this

is not as disturbing as it sounds - trees growing
from my arms are a haven for the green parrots.

My love sleeps like a kangaroo in the shade.
The hunter will not disturb the discovery

that in spite of the oddness of my appearance
my lover finds me less bitter, more arable.

A water table is the depth at which point the ground is totally saturated by water. In certain areas of  the West Australian wheat-belt some of the  water table is saline.  In some deforested land, the water rises to ground level bringing with it salt.

Salt land is sometimes reclaimed by planting salt tolerant species in order to lower the water table. Precipitation filters the salt to lower levels restoring the land to a fertile state.

Love Semiotics
after the works of Magritte, Picabia and Donne

You are not a pipe.

You are not a hand mirror
a bird
a lit candle, an apple
a bowler hat,
a blue hair ribbon.

You could be the reckless sleeper,
a shambles of a man
a Parade Amoureuse.
You could well be
a love machine.

I will claim the conceit
of being your flea.
Do I spy a bare inch of metaphysical
skin on your clavicle?