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Photography: Sarah Reed
Shelley Trueman

Shelley Trueman lives in a draughty villa in Grey Lynn, Auckland, with her husband and two children. While maintaining them in satisfactory condition she also constructs poems and short fiction, chips away at her BA at University of Auckland and bangs out a popular-science item for the NZ Herald’s weekly Canvas magazine. Shelley claims these activities prevent her completing The Novel but anyone she knows might say that she is also prone to procrastination
other lives

I walk the square street grid and live in

The renovated white worker’s cottage,
ready-lawn trimmed tight

a wrought iron edged tidy brick and tile,
lace curtains framed soft

realise the flaking grey weatherboard
tired wire gates splayed lewd and

rough grove of grapefruit and feijoa beyond
the corrugated head-high fence

has me installed

the lunch of mortals

I cover my back -
bone, twist, nerve, disc -
the benefits of hands, heat, drugs.

Then she bares her breasts.
Biopsy, technology, genealogy.
She’s keeping her glass half-full.

So we start stirring, swimming
through his fatty red blood.
He’s denying, we’re prescribing

but realise it’s late, although
we hadn’t noticed time slip.
Three passing through middle age.

general control

In the distance war is underway.
I hear the volley.
The hits
and falls
of infantrymen.

Blanket peace is a flimsy wall away.
Hospital corners,
beds made,
for mock incoming.

Convalescent tea in primary plastic.
While I stir their fuel,
on watch,
tuned in.
Bile-yellow eggs on

blue gas, buttering, cutting toast soldiers.

I pull rank, rally
troops, bark
command attention,
march in formation to the fuel stop.

Gain general control.

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