PAULA CLARE KING
Wall through wall dialogue
I am in my bedroom and my daughter is through the wall in hers.
I am under blankets. I presume she is too. It is only 7.30.
We are saving wood. My phone pings and I think I have
some friends but it is her sending me a picture of a nasty gal
vegan jacket on sale. I reply, ‘Hey don’t send me any more.
I keep thinking it’s a friend and it’s you.’ A masking cape dress
guaranteed to get you out of any sticky situation is her reply.
‘That is false advertising,’ I write. ‘How would that get you out
of a situation?’ ‘I don’t really know,’ she says. ‘Don’t you like it?’
A little thing
I see her pass my house
on her Raleigh Twenty bicycle.
She always pedals standing up.
It is very difficult to pinpoint her age
or the direction of her gaze.
Her body is child-like but for protruding veins
and the slightly rounded top of her spine.
Her skin is olive with a few freckles on her face.
She wears hair clips, the type that make a clip noise
when confirming their position, usually in silver or gold –
big back in the 70s and big, this day, on her. She is just a little thing.
I see her when I walk past her house, where she is collecting something
in a bucket. I think she digs out the dandelions in her lawn. She is very thorough.
I think she may have obsessions. I think obsessions may have her.
She has a little gnome in her garden. He lacks expression. He eyes her front door. I
get a peep inside. The furniture is covered, covered in white sheets. I think she likes
everything to be just so, nice and neat but what do I know.
She does say hello and here I thought she wouldn’t.
I meet Frida at the bus bay
Sometimes I think I see a floral figure
strolling down the footpath. Yes, there
at the end of the street, blooming in
dull light. She has ventured out
beyond the confines of her blue room.
And now, holding a cold hummingbird, she walks
the grubby footpath toward the library ramp,
pausing right before the pedestrian
crossing which is really just a wide judder
bar. Cars stop, no hesitation, for the view
is brightness amidst this grey
ground wall and sky, but she draws
in the living birds and passersby.
Then proceeding further, over
the slight rise towards the Square, she trips
ever so slightly, the hummingbird falls
from her grasp and lands on a pointless path
that gathers pools of her own reflection,
a cinched waist and petalled surround.
Disappearing for a brief moment
behind the large man sheltering under his black
hoody, the water catching the hem of his
blue jeans and her white layered
undergarment. Its damp drifts upwards, absorbed
in the thin muslin of her skirt.
Now here she is standing in the bus
bay. And the tilt of her head, face
to my face: a faded yellow, blue and green
blossoms her right eye. I say fly, Frida, fly.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Paula Clare King lives in the Manawatu where she teaches at Whakatipuria teen parent unit. In 2014 she won the takahē poetry competition and in 2015 was first mentioned in the Kupu poetry competition. This year she is working toward an MA in Creative Writing at the IIML.