Cathedral, Souvenir, Knell


when i awoke my mother was staining the tablecloth
seabirds fixed in patterns breaking loose
crushed china underfoot
what earth were we on
quaking because a person can be a landscape
a whole world can fit in there too
just as a home can be made up of snugly woven lies
tucked into the gaps in the skirting
rooms only have a shape from the inside
and as for cupboards
they have no shape at all
they are just a squareness and
interiors lining shit up
they only exist to contain
family heirlooms filled with lead and asbestos
and a moral lesson in there
and a cockroach
fat with babies
i would rather chew my own foot off
so do what you want
i am misshapen but
i got through


the trees

the picket fence

the bald spot on the grass

ghost feet – rub out

don’t walk

echoing out

bronze or maybe iron

tones or – the taste


an old photo

with the corner bent back

where fingermarks


the face – face it

hold it up to the light

smoothing over


caress – erase

look less

keep it sharper

the swaying and creaking

the rope and bell

the air – before – rainfall –


Five years old.

Face down in the dirt.


we are here hurting
without him

he is not
as it goes for everyone
so it is
too for us
an us newly unified
and for me

a new aloneness

an end is also a beginning
everything changes we all know
these things it’s not terribly original
to say them thus
even to try is kinda drippy
expressing care
that out loud
gets swept into the slippery rush of older words

in fact it’s tired
we are all tired of that
had enough
enough of that
so we wait
dry and shaken and silent

but the happening

the revelation when it is

half remembered
still ringing with echoes
dully bright

then it is
wrong and
right and


Charlotte is a writer and performer from Aotearoa New Zealand. Most recently, she can be found teaching English, writing poetry, and occasionally belting out torch songs in the shadiest bars in Phnom Penh….okay, if not *the* shadiest, perhaps the second shadiest. Well, certainly the floors are oddly sticky. 

Before moving to Cambodia, she performed regularly in a chanson/jazz covers duo called ‘Ooh la la’ with her guitarist brother Toby; held a poetry zine/found sculpture exhibition at ‘In Good Company’ gallery, Wellington; and won Editor’s Pick for a flash fiction piece. 

You can follow her personal blog at, or check out her latest writing, theatre, music and art projects at


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