There are oranges on the trees, 
and lemons on the ground. 
A spoon in the sugar bowl, 
a button on the cotton shirt. 
There is a daisy in the white vase, 
a rose in the red one. 
Five coins in the chipped beige bowl, 
and a smooth stone in my pocket. 
Two pegs sitting on the line, 
and a wicker basket on the lawn. 
Ice cubes sweating in the lemonade, 
blue curtains swaying in the wind. 
There is a bellbird in the bush, 
white keys on the piano. 
Two green chairs on the veranda, 
and a bucket of mussels soaking outside. 
There are the white rimmed eyes of the dog, 
the shriek of the neighbour’s baby. 
There is rum hot on your breath, 
and a swaying look in your eye. 


The lightshade has lilies on it; 
glazed pink and green. 
The bulb glares; 
angry underneath. 
And your stare such blue; 
blonde hair receding. 
The sky looms; 
my mood swings from the moon. 
Eczema’ed arms; 
red scratches in the night. 
Veins of eyes stretch across my vision; 
dark branches on yellow sky. 


The coffee feels especially kind, 
and the leaves especially red, blazing on branches. 
“You need to shave,” I said. And then 
I bit your index finger gently and wouldn’t let go. 
“Where’s my compliment?” I asked 
“Compliments are a privilege, not a right,” you said 
and it felt especially unkind 
like coffee grounds, crusted dry. 
I wasn’t tall enough to see, so you picked me up 
and showed me the box that had somehow fit 
in small space between refrigerator and wall 
then you placed me gently back on ground. 
It’s that cold kind of day which feels 
as though a sweater has been rubbed against the air 
until sparks are formed. 

The Moth

There is a moth fluttering in the toilet bowl, 
agitating the sullied water. 
The moth is doing some sort of death dance, 
flickering wet wings signal for lady luck to fly in. 
In another room, she scratches herself six times in lines not parallel, 
but lines not yet meeting. 
A geometry teacher asks me to imagine the lines 
in invisible planes; 
Imagine that they go on redly forward, until they eventually meet: 
This is why they are not parallel. 
A moth and a train fly toward one another, full speed ahead. 
At what time do they meet? 
But the moth never arrives; it is occupied. 
Busy with wings like wet silk, falling through water. 

Smoke rings

He lies 
on his back. 
Eyes blue and 
Mouth open, 
rings of silver 
smoke toward 
the ceiling. 
with impetigo 
he is 


Maggie Sturgess was born in Texas, but she has spent the majority of the past fifteen years in New Zealand – long enough to call it home. She currently resides in Wellington.