new zealand electronic poetry centre

Bernadette Hall


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BAD FISH


You boiled the bad fish,
sweet jesus, you boiled
the bad fish and now it stinks

all through the curtains
and I’m washing them out
hanging them beside

the kowhai with its long
sulphur tubes, the little feelers
gathered in the mouth

of each flower like sea
anemones and I see
for the first time

the whitey-green pincushion
flowers of the broadleaf
like strange seabed creatures

that twitch fluorescent,
the land and the sea
mirroring each other

so that when a squadron
of gulls drifts over the dump
it’s as if I’m swimming

with the white moon
jellyfish in the dark blue
tank in San Diego

or sitting like sorrow
on a rock in an old-fashioned
diving suit with my big

metal head and bubbles
blobbing up through the grill,
my eyes on the grim city.  

 

From Settler Dreaming, Wellington:   Victoria UP, 2001
Bernadette Hall
 


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Last updated 25 March, 2005