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Nicole Wallace
New Zealand

Mere & Child - Penny Howard
Nicole Wallace lives in South Auckland with her husband and two children.
At the Dinner Party (with She-wolf dominating)

“I read horror, but only sometimes,” She said.
“In an urge to feel something, I think it is.
It’s a touch hunger – boys fighting in the school yard -
A blow of pain, a shower of stars,
As flesh -  as bone connects with concrete.
I suspect that might be it.
Better to feel something, than feel nothing,” She said.

“Blood on the grey porous wall,
Splatter that looks like a brilliant star exploding -
A  Jackson Pollock creation,
Blood running downward - like grim figures
Emerging from the abstract,
I’m so moved by the grisly image,” She said.
Taking the bottle, I poured myself another generous glass.

I did my best to focus, admire her use of simile.
Watched her blood red lips moving,
So like those of a landed fish gasping for air.
“In horror the ghastly images slice away
At my indifference like a scythe,” She said.
I think I understood what she meant,
But like a punch-drunk boxer couldn’t rally or sharpen.

“If I had a dream dinner party,”
She restarted,” I’d invite Carl Jung,
Who’d explain why one reads horror to feel something;
Munch in the kitchen dousing the venison slabs in beetroot jus;
Jackson Pollock splattering paint across the bedroom floor;
Poe’s conversation would cause my soul to flutter
Like a newly emerged butterfly,” her voice droned on.

My drunken glass of Merlot lost its footing,
Slid inelegantly over the white table-cloth.
(Or could it have been my knee that nudged
The table leg that made it topple?)
A giant red stain splashed chaotically across pure white,
“To explain it would only serve to destroy it,” I slurred, gesturing.
“I name it ‘Glass Number 8 … for Pollock and for Poe’.

I stumbled out,
The shadow of Jackson’s ghost raised an eyebrow at me,
A snigger of approval carried on the jet stream of the spinning room.