blackmail press 26
Stephanie Grieve
New Zealand

from: Angipanis of the Abanimal People - Andy Leleisi'auo

Still a twinkle
in the water's eye
but today the light
makes easy promises
of summer.

The breeze a fickle lover's
breath, thick with longing
and rumours,
naming too quickly
the beauties of spring.

Now and then though,
the southerly still throwing
its weight around,
it blows offshore, calls
only surfers and seagulls.

Practically Strangers

I know nothing of you
not which side of the bed
you prefer

you drink coffee
in the afternoon

the measure
of your stare

how your eyes
startle, spread

under your shirt
the shape
of your shoulders


Ten years
three kids
then a text message.

All the exits are blocked
he's had them plastered over
with hundred dollar bills.

Houses in Herne Bay
the Bay of Islands
but suddenly she's nowhere.

'Friends' slap confidence
all over town
like cheap advertising

Situations Vacant.


will soak you out of me
like a stain, make you fade
as certainly as sepia,
the worn edge
of memory.

There will not appear
in your eyes anymore
the question,
suspended between us
in the slow, unfolding afternoon
which outside plays on,
its cast in rapture
at approaching summer.

Of solace is
the depth of green
in mountains and the force
of water. The ignoring wind,
effacing tide

I breathe them in
to empty out


dull you

On Reflection

One of these days you'll show up in a poem,
your transparency

a black mark
on honest white.

It just might shock you into substance.
Then again, you'll probably carry on

send your shadow instead,
your role model

always out the latest, dancing into the wee hours
with the men who make you feel like you used to

reflect another version
younger, shinier.

But tell me
have you ever managed
to put off morning

porridge and packed lunches
the marital peck on the cheek

your own skin

Stephanie Grieve lives in Christchurch and writes poetry and short stories. Her work has previously been published in Bravado, The Press, Catalyst, Side Stream and Crest to Crest, an anthology of writings about Canterbury.