turbine 03
Turbine 03
Hinemoana Baker
James Brown
Kate Camp (audio)
Megan Dunn
Jane England
Ian Finch
Ingrid Horrocks
Chris House
Anna Jackson
Tim Jones
Laura Kroetsch
Kirsten McDougall (audio)
Mary Macpherson
Rick Moody
Naomi O’Connor
Esther Quin
Rossella Riccobono (audio)
Virginia Were
Louise Wrightson
Letter From Iowa

Chris House

First Date by the Dead Sea

He puffed his cheeks blue,
stole her nose,
left her legs dangling in a sea-saw pose.
He noticed her knickers,
played hopscotch with her friends
and kissed her in the girls’ toilets.

                                                  His mother, the tourist,
                                                  showed them the Dead Sea in a perfume bottle.
                                                            He boiled it to discover its essence.
                                                            She tried to drink it.
                                                  Both felt cheated by oceans.

She inflated her belly,
fixed her nose,
left his hands dangling at the altar.
She saw his Calvins on other men,
traded stocks with her friends,
and kissed in the girls’ toilets.

                                                  Her father, the banker,
                                                  showed them a marriage in a holding pattern.
                                                            His smile wandered south to look for work.
                                                            Her toes shovelled snow.
                                                  Both were distorted by mirrors.

He puffed a Cuban,
cleared his throat,
played crooked answers and cross questions.
She left his book launch,
found phosphorescence,
and each watched the other while they slept.

                                                  He looked at her like she was gravy,
                                                            ‘everything’s entropic, things fall apart.’
                                                  She gazed at him like they were six again,
                                                            ‘give me hydrogen, I’ll build a star.’

Beyond their awkward blankets,
a children’s playground buoyed by salt
sat lighter than its medium.
They let water flood their toes,
linked hands as they glanced upwards
and hopefully jumped.

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