Philippa Tucker New Zealand
The Shift the couches are elephant grey and saggy around their leather buttons they crowd the trailer trembling under their weight the men huff the couches pause their shoulders lift and sag the women chatter and chase the vacuum hose around the leather furniture the little boy his purple ball dancing no-one sees the little boy his purple ball arcing from his hand and him tossed down the chipped brick steps behind it a purple ball charges now from his trembling forehead couch-grey the men and women pause he lifts his mouth and waits for the bellow to fall Little Blink you drink in the light see through the feathers of your eyes it spills how certain the milk is much you draw it long into your suck and your swallow I offer for now I can satisfy and you grow your smile whole-open unclouded Anniversary Weekend in Greytown The place to be seen is next door but I can’t think of an opening so I stand ’til my turn arrives and ask for a copy of their takeaway menu then flee here instead. All my lost subjects are munching and slapping their thighs with their forks while ruminating on their lunches and little slurps of conversation and I just can’t stomach them after all. This place is bone-empty barren and I know exactly how it feels. The waitresses are moving from counter to table with nothing but sugar. They watch me watching them and turn away to swipe at some startled table or chair. The waitresses are hot, or so they complain to one another, mopping listlessly as if to illustrate the point. Someone zephyrs through and the waitresses wait politely until he is gone before sending their eyes to the ceiling and saying God how could anyone want takeout coffee today? I sip my soy hot chocolate and stay invisible but to show that I’m not listening I pick up a magazine and comb for a glimpse of ex-husband. The beautiful things shout out at me, stark lines and curves in all the right places and my eyes begin to throb. I wipe them closed just as a man walks in with his sons and ex-husband is there in all of their faces.
Philippa Tucker lives in Carterton with her husband and three young sons. Sometimes she takes a break from mothering with a little freelance editing. She's been writing poetry forever, but this is her first time published.