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2017 SpringT3POETS

Three poems

By November 19, 2017March 29th, 2024No Comments
© Erica Stretton

© Erica Stretton

On Breathing


There is no air in me, she says

her flushed cheeks turned away

no air for words

the night presses in on us


I overdose her ignore the prescription label

when she             stops talking

I run a red light


no way to mirror            the receptionist’s calm

the pounding                   my heartbeat counters

    the doctor’s running feet


finger pinch, they say—it won’t hurt

    but she is asleep


under the mask

cheeks flush slowly and droplets enter the lungs

ventolin – steroids – pale lifesaver rings

she can take the mask home if she likes

do we need a reminder in the dress up box?


one day you may be too slow


there are too many of these instances

prescribe something else/dehumidify your house/can we refer to a specialist/keep her warm/don’t take her out in the night/no swimming in winter


but she ran the cross country last week

and only needed water





Wearing sweats, the hurling rejection of vomit

rhythmic swash and twirl of sheets around

the grain of my skin prickly, roughened by handsoap


A radiating heat + an internal pressure cooker

petal touch of infant skin

seek comfort with throttling arms


wind flutters, falling into the chimney

baby smile like a light behind a curtain

waterfall of bodily fluids

tumble tumble

lemonade on your breath, acrid

If I could escape

would I truly be your mother, again

with the prickle of rain on my eyelashes, the prickle of moisture

the wind’s warmth my friend

it murmurs urgency: mummy, mummy…



A Feast Made for the City

The table is set, a side of lamb, potatoes roasted to perfection

but we are underneath

A whisper behind the sideboard, horseradish sauce sliding down the tablecloth and dripping

a fork forced into wood. A wave wobbles through the ceiling

dust takes hold, shuffling in past nose hairs

can we see the cracks







oh so deep


crackled riverbed


I feel the solidity

of the earth against my cheek



is dead               in the corner



we were unbroken

now we are making casseroles without water


My mother retreats to her kitchen,

And before she has finished there are fifteen boxes of biscuits ready, ready, ready


Will there be cucumber sandwiches

I fancy a bit of crunch



for neighbours

For the dispossessed

Cut. Like a swathe of acupuncture needles

This is the food of dust.


Can we book a table for seventeen and hope the cracks don’t follow

…. And then you came, blue, but without the fine cobwebs that covered the faces of those who ate

through the cracks

but you knew nothing and you laughed

Erica Stretton

Erica is a librarian and mother-of-three who has worked in New Zealand and the UK and is now settled in Ellerslie, Auckland. In between dealing with vomiting bugs, and writing a steady stream of amusing anecdotes about her children online, she has been taking undergraduate writing papers at the University of Auckland over the last year and is hoping to return to librarianship in 2019.