Red dress

Sometimes the sound of sirens coursing through rain 
brings back an image,  water-damaged and close, 
shaved each time of a little history; 
of me and you   stranded together like stripes. 
We were an ugly pairing; 
the blue base of you — the green pulse of my veins 
charging in your tight hand. 
If I called out to you, that was my mistake. 
If you liked the look of my salt-dreaded hair 
I’m sorry, but that was incidental. 
You came and went so many times that 
I learnt how to see your light more clearly 
by looking just to the left of it. 
The sullied shape of memory is grey stratus 
over the ocean’s battered surface but 
despite all appearances, 
I cannot rise above it. 
About that, you remain silent. 
You cling like a bat, all leather and darkness, 
you cling to a tree I don’t know the name of. 
We the living have set up new electric lines 
buoyed in elaborate networks   but privately, 
still prefer two paper cups and a length of string. 
We share our papery memories 
and all our mother’s favorite aphorisms 
red and yella you’ll meet a fella 
blue and green should never be seen. 


Therese Lloyd’s poetry has appeared in Sport and Landfall, and a chapbook called many things happened, was published in 2006 by Pania Press. She completed her MA in Creative Writing at Victoria University and is the 2007-08 Schaeffer Fellow attending the Iowa Writers’ Workshop.