A lake of foster children hold hands in her mind. But sometimes they are swimming, so all she can see is their backs, their white backs like the dark-lake creatures you can’t see and so are certain they’re there. This is the mind she will give birth with. The children must be still, and stand up from the lake streaming and changing before she can ask, what’s your favourite colour? Did you brush against the weeds? What’s it like being invisible? Have you come far? What did you see?


On the Role of the Master


It was a good dog. She dearly wished for the dog to learn to speak. She loved the dog in spasms and imagined issuing the word (Speak!) with such force as a maestro might feel. Do I need a bowtie, she thought. Do I need a baton? If she had dressed in black and white, if she had felt more steadily golden…the tied lightning of her tongue didn’t make things easier. Strike, strike, blackdark quiet, strike.



Joan Fleming lives in a little shack in OnekakaGolden Bay. She is now writing about the colour red and the colour blue. Her poems have appeared in SportSnorkelBest New Zealand Poems 08JAAMThe Lumiere ReaderBlackmail PressHue & CryMoving Worlds and Takahe.