Paula Harris

telegrams to the lover that maybe I never really had

I cannot possibly actually meet someone as lovely as you comma can I query

I am mad to think you really look at me like you are so happy stop

So happy stop

So you must not exist query

So you must not exist stop

Maybe I really am as happy as I think comma but maybe I never left the house stop

Maybe I am lying in bed comma dreaming stop

I am a daydreamer stop

Sorry that I call you my lover comma I know it might make you uncomfortable stop

But you are not my boyfriend and I do not want to call you that guy who I am fucking stop

And comma imaginary or not comma you have loved my body right on down stop

Maybe the reason your beard never tickles me is that it does not exist because you do not exist stop

Maybe comma when you do talk comma you always say the right things because I am saying them stop

Maybe the reason the sex is exactly how I have always wanted sex to be is because it is all in my imagination stop

My imagination definitely knows how I like to be touched comma but imaginary you finds some new things with me stop

Fuck comma I love the way you kiss stop

Do not stop kissing me stop

Do not stop stop

First published in SWWIM (2019)

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.