New Year: Discharged

By Wes Lee

The neighbour’s dog barks into the wind
for the boy who is never there.
On the porch, tethered to its red kennel,
it eyes the world,
barks with its full life-force.
An eyelash drifts down from the skylight.
Each day, fresh things fall
to grace.
Evidence of insect activity.
From the spindly, first stepping legs,
afraid I would fall if I did not
hold on.
From the shell-shocked ‘aeroplane meals’
to bring us back to some kind of reassembling
of who we were.
Sitting across from each other,
we’re broken and we’re soft.
Why must we be dropped like eggs
to root out fear in ourselves?
I am left with terrible breath.
The sanitary smell got inside, laid its seeds
and grasped. My mouth a walking tomb.
I blow into my cupped hand and know
I stink.
Time will come to flush,
to scour the pathways.
Just to be dreaming again is enough.

Originally from Lancashire, Wes Lee lives in New Zealand. Her latest poetry collection, By the Lapels, was launched in 2019 (Steele Roberts Aotearoa). Her work has appeared in numerous publications, including, Best New Zealand Poems, The London Magazine, Poetry London, The New Zealand Listener, Australian Poetry Journal. She will be featured poet in the forthcoming Poetry New Zealand Yearbook 2022.

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Helen Deal
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Helen Deal
3 months ago

I like the bravery of this poem, written so vividly from the point of view of someone having/ recovering from Covid. Some uncomfortable images, but also powerful ones that will stay with me.

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