A failing


You said I lack empathy.
Perhaps you mean I am cold to touch,
my shoulder, my cold
lack being a willfulness
not to give in, a righteousness
you named rightly, I suppose,
but it’s a cruel label
and I’m terribly

you did not see me

swoon over the sharp blade
of your spade, gone through
the pale flesh
of wild mushrooms on the lawn, I felt
that death 

which I admit
happened in a poem, in the abstract,
and it was not your spade 

but still it is true
I am touched
by unimaginable things,
and I am sorry
you do not see
this side of me,


Gail Ingram is an award-winning writer from the Port Hills of Ōtautahi and author of Contents Under Pressure (Pūkeko Publications 2019). Her work has appeared widely across Aotearoa, and in Australia, the UK, Africa and the USA. She is editor for a fine line and Flash Frontier: An Adventure in Short Fiction.