Joan Fleming

Night interview

Is it the past that hurts?
              This is where I try to sleep

Did you reason with it?
              For a time

And the flowers?
              There were a purple      they paled in the middle

Did they please the room?
              They pleased themselves

You were gifted clothes.
              No fit      was fire enough

There was talk of a home chill.
              The best      do not talk about it

What of the first fit?
              I wish      an erasure of it

Of the first rush, too?
              Rush leaves

So what got left behind?
              Polished cuff      I gave it away

What stayed?
              A taste of metal

Was this a repetition?
              Some hear a blood signal      I have muted it

We heard there was a window?
              It was painted shut

How was the glass crushed?
              With purpose

Was there a meaning?
              Breakages occurred      both necessary and unnecessary

Is the ceiling close?
              I watch it

Even in the dark?
              Even in the dark



What we liked

███ slowest cruelty █████ ███████████
in the mornings, ███████ ready but sleepy
███████████ I didn’t wake up █████████
█████████████ lick the █████████
████████ white air and muzzling,
██████ cruelty in the afternoons.
We planned ███████████████
██████████████████ the new machinery
██████████████ we dreamed our cruelty
█████ Get clean, ███████ then we’d ████
███████ forget the play,
█████████████████ fall
into tenderness. Sometimes
it lasted █████████
slow slow ███████ talking the whole time.



By Joan Fleming

is the author of two collections of poetry, The Same as Yes (VUP, 2011) and Failed Love Poems (VUP, 2015), and the chapbook Two Dreams in Which Things Are Taken (Duets). Her new collection Dirt is forthcoming. She holds a PhD in ethnopoetics from Monash University, and is the New Zealand/Aotearoa Commissioning Editor for Cordite Poetry Review. She currently lives in Madrid, and in 2020 she will travel to Honduras for the Our Little Roses Poetry Teaching Fellowship.