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Victoria Broome
New Zealand

Four Steps To Standing on a Horse - Penny Howard - 2014
My name is Victoria Broome and I live in ChCh and work in primary care as a mental health social worker. I have been published in various NZ journals and anthologies over the years and received the Louis Johnson award from Creative NZ in 2005 and have been a past poetry editor of Takahe.

First Star                                                                                                            

The angel comes to find you,

depending on the weather
and the phase of the moon.

The way you hold your heart,
how much pale skin above your pelvis shows.

How tremulous are his wings,
they move when you do.

Is that a star?

Yes, that is the first star,
the evening star and the moon is waxing,

and setting above the singular
dark clouds that slide

across the deepening blue,
the darkening hull of the earth,

to tell us cold will come, briefly.


What can I tell you? He was beguiled by her clavicles. As if they were musical instruments, playing light and shade into sound. This was mysterious to him, the music of her bones.
Delicate bones, exquisite, on them rides the creamy promise of the breasts, the link to the shoulder blades, the memory of wings.
He wants to learn how to play the music of her clavicles as if they were a clavier, a keyboard, ivory keys to both their hearts.
He will sit down before her at dusk, the curtains drawn as the light dims, he will slide his fingers across the left clavicle towards the right, he has to look into her eyes as he plays, this is where the notation lives, as long as she is looking back the lilting music will begin.


The swarm of bees
leaves her heart.

Her fingers gently
lifting up

the place of their escape.

They are not angry
as they leave

a swooping, swinging,
drifting cloud.

Busy with murmurings,
busy with hummings,

laying a soft shadow
over her.

They hover,
as all her miseries, her tears,

flow from the lid,
that she naively opens.

Some sting sadly as they go,
this is the last life they will know.

Some beat their tiny fragile wings
in longing against her burning skin.

Fearful of the world outside,
her fingers softly loosen them.

They rise up separately,
leave as one.

Mushroom Picking

We are woken in the dark
by my father's whispering.
He helps us out of bed
takes us to get dressed
by the glowing chip stove in the kitchen.
No other lights are on, just stars.
We shiver with cold and with
anticipation, climb into the car.
We stop as the sky lightens and reddens
and there is a field with people bending
and my father shows us how to pick
the big brown mushrooms
hiding in the wet grass.
We get home when everyone else is up
and my mother prepares them in a pan
with butter and we eat them.
We were happy, briefly, once.


When I help to bathe you
your breasts are full and pale,
your skin creamy and shockingly
young against your aging body.
Your belly is round and swells
like a medieval Madonna’s.

A hot nor’west wind blows,
blue sky, green bending trees.
We lay you on your side
and lift the blankets to cool
your hot skin.

I massage your large arthritic hands
and long thin arms, daughter,
singer, hairdresser, older sister,
elocution teacher, radio performer,
producer of plays, piano player.

I tell you that you’re not alone,
open the window in your room.