Paula Harris


gareth speaking... (at the next table)

and gareth speaks
and speaks
and speaks
into his pocket sized
plastic covered brain
while gareth's girlfriend
sips quietly on their
shared orange juice
biting into her
butter smothered muffin
watching the leaping women
dance across the wall
and at our table
we slurp on our drinks
creating milkshake interference
to counter his vocal interference
and i think
if gareth's girlfriend
had her own pocket sized
plastic covered brain
maybe gareth would
speak to her to

First published in takahē 37 (1999)

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.