Paula Harris

Takahe40

loving miss moneypenny

looking perfectly together as always
moneypenny
the way she carries herself so smoothly
not a crease in her clothes
a fat chain of gold around her neck
that would look gaudy on anyone else
on moneypenny
perfect
makeup so delicately placed
i can't see where it stops or starts
on her smooth skin
and her voice
so low and controlled
i have to lean in
towards her
which isn't that hard

looking perfectly together as always
moneypenny
a newly healed scar
across the back of her left hand
i want to trace my fingertip across
three faint silver lines on each hip
put my lips to the flat mole
just to the left of her navel
her nail polish showing the first signs
of chipping on her toes
i reach to repaint them
for moneypenny
i have to lean in
towards her

First published in takahē 40 (2000)

Paula Harris

About Paula

Paula Harris lives in 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.

Her poetry has been published in various journals, including Berfrois, Queen Mob's Teahouse, Barren, SWWIM, Glass, Diode, The Spinoff, Poetry New Zealand Yearbook and Landfall. Her essays have been published in The Spinoff and Headlands: New Stories of Anxiety (Victoria University Press).

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