by Robyn Maree Pickens
Robyn Maree Pickens is a PhD candidate in ecological aesthetics at the University of Otago, Aotearoa New Zealand. Her poetry has appeared in SAND Berlin, Cordite, Plumwood Mountain, Matador Review, Jacket 2, and at ARTSPACE, Auckland. Her poetry criticism has appeared in Rain Taxi and Jacket 2. She was a finalist of the 2018 Sarah Broom Poetry Prize judged by Eileen Myles, and winner of the takahē Monica Taylor Poetry Prize 2018.
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Seven goats coasting on the equinoctial tide have disrupted reception.
This is the fifty-third day of rain and we are tired.
I am too absorbed tracing bora trails in floorboards to help you.
The squares of graph paper hurt our eyes.
The fragrance of fig leaves has stolen me away from my console.
I am split with grief like Gordon Matta-Clark; forgive me.
A co-worker has just returned with donuts.
We are watching polar bears forage for food in apartments.
Everywhere ice is melting; I am bereft.
We are watching security footage of a couple having awkward sex.
I was compelled to go outside and walk barefoot on the grass.
Rats have chewed through our industrial-strength cables.
I am listening to one song on repeat and cannot break free.
We’re waiting for the new employee to arrive.
The statue of liberty has fallen down.
I am without joy this morning.
An old man with sailor tattoos is staring at us from his balcony.
We have gone to the casino in the dessert by the Joshua Tree.
I keep seeing headless heads upside down in a millpond.
The sun has a long threatening tongue today.
The camel has laid its head on the sand and I am hoarse.
We both dreamed of teeth stacked like blue pain.
I’ll hold you in the dark
This weighted blanket has proprioceptive input
which means: I’ll hold you in the dark. And
if you venture into Antelope Canyon I’ll shadow you.
It means you are beloved.
It means I will translate every handful of unreadable symbols for you.
That your muscle memory of joy shall not want.
You will never face a closure of choice or the rabidity of two hundred impatient eyes.
I’m out here on every highway translating the signage of the millennium mind.
You will not starve here.
I am researching a cure for scent-blindness in humans
because I know your multilingual desire gets you up every morning.
I know of your desire to meet a single honey fungus
and shine in the middle distance where life is maximal.
To lie between the wetness of ferns and feel their feathery tongues.
I have seen you lick the new bark of trees for the pulse of talk.
I am the weight of King Solomon’s riches for you.