in the afters

do you experience love in cascades
little showers of pure feeling
they speak so much but say so little
love is a ramble // love is a curse
all to be lost as the tide goes out

listening to 'peace frog' by the doors in his car on the peninsula
i am struck by fragility
the stars are watching his first touch
and they twinkle at my continuation
a deadlock of passion as we overcome ourselves

the consumption of sex rocks the car
vibrations flow to the bedrock
each a message to hell of the fun we’re having
the windows fog for our secrecy
as we jut and rut in the front seat

in the afters we dress
he promises to keep in touch but i know
we are drawn by the fragile tide
lust is a scramble // lust is a first
the feel of his flesh lingers

author photo of harold coutts

harold coutts is a poet and writer based in Te Whanganui-a-Tara. They have a hoard of unread books and love to play Dungeons & Dragons. You can find their work across various NZ literary journals such as Starling, Ōrongohau | Best New Zealand Poems, Poetry New Zealand Yearbook, and in Out Here edited by Chris Tse and Emma Barnes (Auckland University Press, 2021). Their chapbook longing was published alongside Arielle Walker and Sarah Lawrence in AUP New Poets 9 (AUP, 2023). 

harold comments: 'i wrote this poem after an incredibly passionate experience. the connection i felt with the person was immense, and while we lived in different cities and both knew nothing further could happen, that only made it more special. i was interested in how intimacy can be fleeting, and how animalistic lust can be. i wanted to show them both through this experience, and highlight how sometimes days, weeks, even months after you've been with a person, you can still feel their touch on you.' 


​Poem source details >



harold coutt's Auckland University Press author page


Photographer credit: Matthew Hitchings