After I kissed four people I lay in bed awake thinking about glandular fever, meningitis, the Spanish influenza, Joan of Arc. When we were younger we would make lemonade out of grapefruit and whole packets of sugar, let it sludge into blue top bottles through junk mail cones. Sell it to the neighbourhood kids. We turn a good profit. Pupils like trampolines. In one acre of land there can be over one million earthworms. The first one I kissed cause I thought I would never kiss anyone again. He was wearing a snapback with the silver sticker still on and smelt like Lynx Africa and street cred. If a worm’s skin dries out, it will die. St Catherine was tied to a giant wheel. The second because his hotter friend wanted to kiss my hotter friend and these things make a satisfying kind of symmetry. He high fived his mate and said he didn’t mind taking one for the team and I thought of how worms come up to the surface when it rains. The third I named Mumford and Sons because he had a beard and his tongue reminded me of an accordion. We swapped numbers and for weeks afterwards he txted me real high school. They say that when you cut a worm in half then it can continue on its life as two separate worms but this isn’t quite true. The fourth came into the paint party clean and white as any cliché and bourbon said you’re looking a little too clean aren’t you? And he said well then why don’t we do something about that? Often the head part of the worm can persist and grow a new tail. But the tail will simply writhe a little and die.



Aimee-Jane Anderson-O’Connor is completing an honours degree in English at the University of Waikato, and was recently announced as the co-winner of the 2017 Monash Prize for Emerging Writers. Her work has appeared in Starling, Mayhem, Brief, Tearaway, Poetry New Zealand, Landfall, and Verge. She writes thanks to the tireless support of some of the best people on this great watery rock.