Paula Harris

shrapnel

when you broke my heart
all those years ago
I swept up the shattered pieces
in silent fury
while you looked on

away from you
I buried the pieces
deep inside myself
to keep them from harm
and the silence fell away

now
I realise
that I missed one shard

it lodged itself
inside you
burying between your ribs
working its way in deeper
with time

my only options
are
to dig it out
with my bare hands
pushing muscle,
bone and organs
out of my way

or
to leave it where it is
slowly burrowing
further inside you
until it lodges too deep
to safely
remove

First published in a fine line, NZ Poetry Society journal - Featured Poet (2014)

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, Glass, Diode, The Spinoff, Poetry New Zealand Yearbook and Aotearotica. Her essays have been published in The Sun, Hobart, The Spinoff and Headlands: New Stories of Anxiety (Victoria University Press).

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