(Wheels fall off to create drama)

Once, through a tree-lined glance, symptoms were mistaken for cause. She is tired
and tires. Absorb shock while keeping the wheel in close contact with the ground. A
moment needs to be applied, but when I am, then I will. Yet action should happen first.
The house had more eyes than windows. One misses relevant information if it is not
phrased exactly the way one expects. The leaves were a reference to childhood. It’s
beginning to get dark. I had left out something important, which I now realised I ought
to have mentioned at the beginning. Wheels fall off to create drama. I coughed up a
tree. Things like that were just details between me and him. Bearings are used to help
reduce fiction at the interface. I had stopped reading novels. The answer depends on
the assumptions. 

(But it is true when one believes it)

For many months we were mouths. Just at or below a level of discovery, deliberately
turning away from the view. In colour she felt nothing, she could do nothing but lie. But
it is true when one believes it. This grub eats only the edges of leaves. That’s the way I
am, or that’s the way it is. Relevant to deep creases captured by etiquette. I closed my
leaves and orphans. But the entrance remained after nobody noticing and
remembering venom is modified saliva. I was going to say something, or pray, but that
wouldn’t take up my whole life.

(Yesterday those habits were thoughts)

What they have noticed and gathered, layer upon layer, is not the lack of close
relatives, but the scraped faces in the sentence. And the furniture out of misplaced
kindness, which is preserved in negative relief, a kind of external mould. We are not
boundaries to begin with. You have been taught that compressions and impressions
occur at the same time but you have not learnt it. Yesterday those habits were
thoughts. There’s really nothing I can do, but there’s always something I can do. Once
grows upward, even across the image they wanted to see, captured by small spaces
and sediment. But ever since the cycle began, and probably before, touch is more
often dark, because they have asked you not to follow them.

Hand shadows

Move the hands slowly across the screen, then tip them suddenly forwards, as if the weasel had pounced upon some creature. 

(some slowly as if then) 

Nothing happens, nothing is happening. The not happening is the happening. 

Bend both hands forwards to make the cockatoo bow. The thumb of the right hand, when quickly bent and straightened, makes the bird appear to be eating. 

(both hands quickly to be eating) 

(both nothing quickly to be eating) 

Every persisting relationship is based on fear. Move the hands forwards quickly, and back again, as if the woodpecker were darting for an insect. 

She lives in_____, where she collects mushrooms and misidentifies birds along the river. 

(back fear darting the river) 

What do you say after you say hello. 

To make the horse gallop, raise and lower your hands, moving them forwards across the screen. 

I always mention the worst complaint last, or hope that if I pay it little attention, it’ll go away. I look at my hands and they don’t seem connected to my body. I never initiate handshakes. 

(look or gallop to say it) 



Zarah Butcher-McGunnigle is a writer from Auckland. Her poems have appeared in publications such as LandfallPoetry NZSnorkel, and Colorado Review.