Standing in the shower, grateful
for the control of my body
I imagine the pitiless
effect of gravity.
Your precious head bounced along. Shoulders
rolled from side to side.
Could it not be a circus wagon?
Embellished with enticing signs
of strength and wonder.
Lights, fire, action.
And that night in the corridor I heard him
tell the nurse, 'I can't sit or stand or lie down.'
What do you want to do then?
And soon after, the police were called
milling outside the curtain.
I had to pee. I walked passed him,
holding the disconnected wires,
holding the back of my gown closed.
Head down, unable to put himself
anywhere—a furious frustration.
And I don't even know what he looked like,
a man restrained by the presence of other men.
Feet agitated, body swaying,
head down until things quietened.
It was winter and I wrote:
Maybe this is my last winter.
In spring we planted flowers.
Sculpted and made choices;
sticky bees nudging our fingers—we never
recoiled or shrieked. They knew us
and we knew them.
Wes Lee lives in Wellington. Her latest poetry collection By the Lapels was launched in 2019 (Steele Roberts Aotearoa, 2019). Her work has appeared in a wide array of publications in New Zealand, Australia and the UK, including Best New Zealand Poems, Westerly, Landfall, Poetry New Zealand, Poetry London, New Writing Scotland, The London Magazine, The Stinging Fly, The New Zealand Listener, Breach of all Size: Small stories on Ulysses, love and Venice. She has won a number of awards for her writing. Most recently she was selected as a finalist for The Sarah Broom Poetry Prize 2018, awarded the Poetry New Zealand Prize 2019 by Massey University Press, and shortlisted for The NZSA Laura Solomon Cuba Press Prize 2021. She is the featured poet in the Poetry New Zealand Yearbook 2022.