Paula Harris


Coitus Interruptus

After kissing and touching
The kind of kissing and touching
That is leading to something
I reached for my bag
And I suddenly thought
- Fuck, I left my condoms at home
And so quietly I said to him
- Baby, have you got a condom
And he mumbled a reply
Reaching over to his drawer
Pulling out a box and turning it upside down
But nothing fell out
And he said
- Fuck, I’ve run out
And I said
- Fuck
And he gave me that stupid look that means
- Baby, couldn’t we just this once . . .
And I gently slapped him over the head meaning
- Don’t even think about it
And we sighed quietly
And I said
- Oh well, it doesn’t really matter I guess
And I thought
- Fuck I’m horny and I want you but there are no fuckin’ condoms
And we rolled over and fell asleep
Our bodies pressed together

First published in JAAM (1997)

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.