Paula Harris

The poet is bearded and wearing his watch around the wrong way

The poet is wondering what word could distil the blue of the sky today,
if the jasmine outside the window smell as strongly as they appear delicate,
when the postie will cycle past.

The poet is wondering if there are any chocolate chip biscuits left,
what his wife is doing right this moment,
how long his trouser cuff has been torn.

The poet is wondering if he finished his cup of tea
and where he might have left the cup.

The poet is wondering about the comma of the fourth line and if
it should be a line break. Yes, a line break. No, no, a comma. No,
wait, yes, a line break.

The poet is wondering if he should shave,
or will the regrowth be prickly?
it’s been a while and he can’t remember.

The poet is wondering when this photograph will be taken
and he can put his slippers back on.


First published in Poetry New Zealand Yearbook (2018)

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.