Ruby Solly

Sea in

It’s a fact
that every family has an aunt
with her fingers
behind her back.

She will (probably) inhabit the following
(filling up every corner and fold)

1. A house by the sea.
With more sea in than out.

2. Tent like dresses.
That let her feet become acrobats
dangling from her ankles.

3. The ‘guest’ room.

This simple, fine haired character is not usually a protagonist.
Not even in her own poem / painting / stitching / song.
But upon her fibre
Is embroidered
simple truths

1. You can’t unwhisper a secret.
No matter how loud you scream its antonym.

2. You can’t unmake a baby.
Even if you wipe your slate clean.

3. You can’t unlie a lie.




On average
every 33.3 days
someone with unworked hands
(or white hair, parted half an inch off centre)
asks me
where my blood is from
about which
scent it’s rich red.

I reply
with glass eyes
and an actor’s accent
as treacle
in order to
my way into the hearts
of the rich.

Inside their ever pulsing mansions
they give me
illuminated novels
to hide
in each of their four chambers.

Each copy
ruined by my own licked fingers
just so I could prove to the red red walls
that they were real.



By Ruby Solly

(Kai Tahu, Waitaha) is a writer and musician living in Pōneke. She has been published in journals such as Landfall, Starling, Mimicry, and Poetry NZ. Her poem ‘Six Feet For a Single Eight Feet For a Double’ was recently featured in Best New Zealand Poems 2020. Her debut poetry collection, Tōku Pāpā is being released by Victoria University Press in 2021.