Paula Harris

QMT - September 2018

there is a forest, there are trees, and somewhere amongst that is a drunk suicidal woman

the men shake their heads, wag their fingers
tell her off for getting drunk

how could she? how could she?
twenty years sober thrown away
just to stop herself from taking action
and killing herself

how pathetic, how fucking pathetic
she is to have gotten drunk

she wonders if somehow she is missing the point
how they can’t see the point
why she threw it all away


First published in Queen Mob's Teahouse (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.