Title: Sport 42: 2014

Editor: Fergus Barrowman

Publication details: Fergus Barrowman, 2014, Wellington

Part of: Sport

Conditions of use



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Sport 42: 2014

Johanna Emeney

page 182

Johanna Emeney

Couples Therapy

Your homework is to stand
holding each other
for five minutes.

No talk, no movement,
no intimate touch—
a five-minute hug.

I see you next month,
so there’s no excuse
for not doing it.

The task is five minutes
body to body, breathing

You might like to think
about the feelings
that come and go,

or you may prefer
to stay in the moment—
out of your conscious mind.

If you feel the need,
you can close your eyes.

page 183

On My Shoulders

I carried a three-foot gorilla,
his hairy legs clamped
at the prehensile toes
around my neck,
his big, jolly bonce
bobbing in time
with mine
as I walked to the ward
that smelled always
of toast, jam and necrotic lilies.

In the doorway
with my silly gift
I spied her face, lifted
to the warm window,
right arm under the blanket,
over her left breast,
the other hand in a fist,
pulped papier mâché
tissue poking out the top.

I knocked on the wall,
and—caught out—
she wrought her delight
in seconds: animated eyes,
happiest smile, little giggle at me,
and the surprise I’d brought.

Sure, he’d be a hit on the ward.

You could squeeze his hand
and make him roar.

page 184

Heartache All Around

There’s heartache all around today.
At the vet’s, on the noticeboard:
and a picture of a cat
under the arm
of a sleeping girl,
tucked in the crook between
her shoulder and the thumb
stuck in her mouth.

and oh, little sleeping girl,
all the cruelties of love and absence
have struck at once.
There will be no finding,
no reunion
and no comfortable slumber
for the next weeks or months.

This is how it is—
spectacle of attachment and loss,
all of us looking and calling
for nothing,
even though there are microchips
and rewards
and twelve small tabs
with a phone number printed on them
in fat felt tip.