Paula Harris

the wanderer

two rows forward
his long thin feet
perched on
the back of the seat
in front of him.
occasionally he would
reach up to stretch the cramp from
his long thin arms,
or play a melody in the air with
his long thin fingers.
sometimes he would look around
his long thin face
wide with open curiosity.
but while each of these
beautiful parts captured my attention,
as a whole
his long thin body
did nothing for me.

First published in Spin 26 (1996)

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.