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Jacket 16 — March 2002   |   # 16  Contents   |   Homepage   |  Catalog   | to New Zealand Contents list     

New Zealand feature

Pooja Mittal: Three poems

here at the grange

here at the grange
they are digging up the Truth
you can see it on their faces, the desert loving
in their hands

there are fingers under the earth
also pulling the doors shut.

there I was running down the hallway
hoping to find a door open
and a woman naked behind it

but this was not the truth

so I reached up my fingers
to try to hold the doors shut

but they didn’t listen, they didn’t

so they pulled me up — they broke my arms
in the desert loving feel of their hands I could tell
they were digging for Truth

‘Got you!’ they exclaimed in joy when I surfaced
‘We saved you from the ****’

I stared up at their faces

there was no naked woman waiting for me
but here I was, a naked woman
thrown in laughter on the ground

spare change

in our pockets searching
for change to hand
the world —
change —
while underground we are digging out
our hearts from their own soil.

tubers of love, unfurled
breathing open, swollen
with the rain.
& dirt.

this is our fertile season.

this concrete forest
this ever-opening techno-lotus,
gleaming white at night
giving to all strangers
of our food. & light

needles glimmering in the drain —
and we are lost, laughing
in each other’s arms
stumbling over paper-maché
this world crumpled, beneath us
the chin of stars

feet falling.

emerging in daylight,
half-awake, unseen
unreal to this world
& the next

‘nearly dead nearly red’
you laugh, pointing
to my elbow

pierced skin, finding
spare change
in the drain

nearly dead nearly red

in our blood

we are free


watch this space

what do you want, after all
more of silver tampons
red disasters roused
quietly under fingertips?

bombs oiled
under skirts & armpits,

an excursion into sunlight

letting go
letting go.

‘wait for me’

in the tiled kitchen,
arms folded
in our blood the salt
now quietened?

in our breath fogging
the polythene
of each other’s dreams

this quiet war
will never end,
you said so

Photo of Pooja Mittal

Pooja Mittal was born in Nigeria in 1983, of Indian parents. Brought up there until the age of ten, she considers Nigeria her first country. After being sent to school briefly in India, she moved to New Zealand in 1995. Despite the fact that she had been writing since a very young age, it was at thirteen that she realised poetry would be her calling. Presently studying at Monash University in Melbourne (Australia), she is completing a double degree of Bachelor of Arts and Computer Science, and continues to write. She has been published in various journals of both the print and online varieties, including JAAM, Niederngasse, Trout, Conspire, and Southern Ocean Review, and was featured poet for Poetry New Zealand 23 in 2001. See also

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