Paula Harris


a lesson in good doctoring

a good doctor
doesn't need
neatly pressed work clothes
a big desk
a wall of degrees
a stethoscope around their neck
or to get you
in and out
in ten minutes or less

a good doctor
can be wearing pyjamas
offer heavy doses of reassurance
then sit on the couch with you
share cups of milo
and bowls of ice cream
and doesn't notice the time

so this is to say
(a pathetically small fee)
to Kirsten
who is a great doctor
and a better friend

and wears exactly
the type of pyjamas
I thought she would

First published in takahē 59 (2006)

Paula Harris

About Paula

Paula Harris lives in Aotearoa/New Zealand, where she writes and sleeps a lot, because that's what depression makes you do. She won the 2018 Janet B. McCabe Poetry Prize and the 2017 Lilian Ida Smith Award, and was a semi-finalist for the 2020 92Y Discovery Poetry Prize. She was the recipient of a Vermont Studio Center writing residency in 2018.

Her poetry has been published in various journals, including Passages North, Barren, New Ohio Review, SWWIM, Gulf Coast, The Spinoff, Poetry New Zealand Yearbook and Aotearotica. Her essays have been published in The Sun, Passages North, The Spinoff and Headlands: New Stories of Anxiety (Victoria University Press).

She is extremely fond of dark chocolate, shoes and hoarding fabric.