The Nail

Where I am—generic architecture
like a barn or a bach but
neither of those things
Feral fennel clots the air with ammonia
and the usual marks are everywhere—
burnt stumps and discarded branches
their currency clattering at the night-window

I’ve made a list of the things I will steal:
a Crown Lynn cup and saucer
an ashtray printed with Foxton: the Foxy Town
and a remote control like the one I lost—
but I won’t, I will leave this place
cleaner than when I arrived

If I could get things right on a small scale
if I could lay the right things
at the feet of the wooden women
who circle the ladder to heaven
Or reign Foveaux’s rusty breath
to skirt these hingeless doors
But my vision is split like a horse’s
and my pockets hurt from the fists
I’ve shoved in them

Round back the muttonbirders are dumping buckets
of bodies in the kitchen sink
the ovens and deep fryers gearing up a notch
We prepare ourselves by mumbling a song 
taught to us this morning
half naïve native, half colonial huckster
sung to a Beatles tune
Standing on the grass, I let a nail
pushed from rusted metal
pierce the sole of my shoe

Therese Lloyd currently lives in Paekākāriki on the Kapiti Coast. Her first collection of poems, Other Animals, was published in 2013 by Victoria University Press. The poems in this collection span a period of roughly seven years, including many poems written during her year as Schaeffer Fellow at the Iowa Writer’s Workshop in 2007–08. She is currently working towards a PhD in Creative Writing at Victoria University of Wellington.

Lloyd comments: ‘The poem “The Nail” was inspired by a trip to Te Rau Aroha Marae in Bluff. Waiting outside the marae as manuhiri before being officially welcomed on, I experienced a complex array of emotions as though in limbo. The poem is an attempt to capture that sense of otherness.’

Poem source details >



Other Animals at Victoria University Press
Poems by Therese Lloyd at Jacket2