In the Summer

Walking home from dinner and hearing the train roaring, 
breaking the wet night open, just for a moment. 
Our damp arms touching at the crossing. Both recoiling. 
Inside, I turn the air-conditioner right down to seventeen 
and make a starfish on the bed and you take your clothes off 
and stand in front of the open fridge and I watch you glowing in the light. 
You don’t look like you. 
I wish we had watermelon, you say. 
Then you sit down next to me and put your hand on my head and ask me, what do you reckon you’d look like if you were pregnant? Would you have shinier hair and bluer eyes or would you just be you with a watermelon under your shirt? 


Elizabeth Russell did the MA programme at the IIML in 2009. She now lives in Hawke’s Bay, freelance writing and working in the arts sector. In the Summer is from a series of Japan poems, which relate to a longer fiction project Elizabeth is working on (slowly).