Paula Harris


an uncomplicated life

it's been a long time
since I've written you a love poem,
and I've been through two dozen lovers
since then.

I can't write you
a conventional love poem
filled with sunshine and flowers
and simple perfection

because you are a complication
in my life
and I'm a complication in yours
and this isn't love

but this is happiness;
the happiest I've been
in a long time,
too damn long to remember.

all I know is that
within the complications of
there is simplicity

and within that simplicity
is a love poem
that isn't a love poem
but it's enough.

First published in Building a time machine - New Zealand Poetry Society Anthology (2012)

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.