blackmail press 30 Bipolarisation
Martha Morseth
New Zealand

In Your Enigma - Ilinca Höpfner
Alone - Simon Williams
Dunedin writer Martha Morseth, has had poems published in popular magazines and literary journals including the Listener, Landfall, Sport, Takahe, JAAM, Bravado and in on-line journals and anthologies, as well as in her collection, Staying Inside the Lines. She has written three books for teenagers, published by Pearson: two short story collections --- Yeah! and EDGE/a cut of unreal; and a book of one-act plays, Let’s Hear It for the Winner!

the table has no small talk
the day’s news stews silently
he swallows red wine whole
she watches
the net curtains tie themselves
around his neck and tug
‘this steak is still alive’
he says, his tongue protruding.
the dinner knife slices his fingers
the fork gouges his eye
blood spews onto his collar
down his arm and into his food
cold peas rush up his nose
a water glass smashes his knuckles
the stoneware plate cracks his skull
the tablecloth binds his legs
and pulls him under.
‘how was your day, dear?’ she asks
he is noncommittal
finding it hard to converse
with cutlery sticking
into his skin.

First published in Takahe, 1994


a crystal word
hard like balls of ice on mittens 
frozen breath on skritchy window glass

unlike warm,
willing to hide indoors.

Frost is double-jointed

necklaces of diamonds on telephone lines
back gardens of lumpy icing sugar

your boots cracking the snowfall’s crust
forging trails though a listening world
evidence of power.