The children are busy on the lawn 
with a stick, an upturned hat 
and some leaves. 

They call me — Come outside 
Grandma and eat the cake. 

It is made of air 
and is quite delicious. 

I have two slices. 

The children give me the recipe 
written on a leaf. 

The poet makes the poem out 
of nothing; I will make the cake 
after I have written these words 
about my latest muse — a chef 
whose fame rests tenuously on 
the success of his next plate. 


The Neighbour


Miss Clarke is never idle. Spying keeps her busy and alert, especially on Sundays when her neighbours share a traditional roast. White net curtains cocoon the family as they move around inside the little cottage like baby spiders in a nest on a gorse bush. Sometimes a breeze blows a curtain out a window. Miss Clarke imagines it is waving at her. She lifts her gardening trowel in the air. 

Music flows from her neighbour’s cottage. It comes from a handsome wooden radio. One morning Miss Clarke’s curiosity led her boldly up the neighbours’ path moments after the mother drove off with the baby and the young girl to buy the weekly groceries. She peered in a front window. The radio that stared straight into her soul had one piercing green eye. It had knobs like fat brown nipples. The wood glowed. Miss Clarke could smell polish. The polish smelt like sunlight. 

After her meeting with the radio Miss Clarke weeded the pansies near her gate every Sunday at noon. The request session drifted towards her — 

The next letter is from Miss Norma Clarke in Mission Bay who writes to say this is the very first time she has sent in a request. It’s good to know you are busy with community activities. And, because you asked, we have chosen a special song. It’s The Flamingos singing I Only Have Eyes for You. 



Coming home on the bus
in winter the wipers arc

whootu whootu
whootu whootu

The passengers smell
like old potatoes.

I crack open the front door
abandon an umbrella
shake off the day.

White envelopes rest
on the table
like doves.

In a letter from an aunt
I have just invented
she writes that it is humid
where she lives on the line.

Colourful birds fly through
her rooms leaving
feathers behind.

My aunt stuffs them
inside pillows. She has been
sleeping well, lately.

The sound of the birds’ wings
(writes my educated aunt)
is a susurration

whootu whootu
whootu whootu



Louise Wrightson completed her MA in Creative Writing at the IIML at Victoria University, Wellington, in 2015. She was in the Poetry and Creative Non-Fiction stream. She describes the experience as less like a stream and more like the Irrawaddy River in full flood. The poems ‘Seconds,’ ‘The Equator,’ and the prose piece ‘The Neighbour’ were written for her thesis, Grace. Her website is louisewrightson.com.