Apricot sky in the V between the arms of the harbour.
Fully ripe. I bathe in the luxury of a view and waking
to warmth before I turn to the storyline missing in my head.
White pages falling to the floor. Outside, clouds have knitted
           a fluffy confection,

deep pink, the kind of colour my child-heart hankered after.
I envisage slipping it on, pirouetting on the still-blank page,
claiming this is what I meant to say all along. Isn’t this me?
Before I leave the dog-sitter and head to the airport, I take
           the parcel, overlooked

in the students’ letterbox for the past month, and place
it on their doorstep. I would knock, but there is something alien
or cultish about them. They all wear earphones and avoid eye
contact. At the airport, my firstborn walks towards me, taller
           than I remember,

his voice deeper, his arms more embracing. Tempting to sink in,
to let myself be taken care of, but it’s too early. I stand upright,
regarding his number-one haircut. Why so short? I want to say.
We buckle up. Thick clouds carpet the air. Possibly the same ones
           I saw this morning, mature now.

Diane Brown is a novelist, memoirist, and poet who runs Creative Writing Dunedin, teaching fiction, memoir and poetry. She is the author of eight books, including Before the Divorce We Go To Disneyland (Tandem Press, 1997), winner of the Jessie Mackay Award for Best First Book of Poetry, Learning to Lie Together (Godwit, 2004), and Eight Stages of Grace (Vintage, 2002), a verse novel which was a finalist in the Montana Book Awards 2003.  She has also published a travel memoir, Liars and Lovers (Vintage, 2004), and three further poetic narratives: Here Comes Another Vital Moment (Godwit, 2006), Taking My Mother To The Opera (Otago University Press, 2015), and most recently the poetic novella Every Now and Then I Have Another Child (Otago University Press, 2020).

She has held the Buddle Findlay Sargeson Fellowship and has had two residencies at the Michael King Writer’s Studio. She won the Janet Frame Memorial Award in 2012 and the Beatson Fellowship in 2013.

She is the Poetry Editor for ‘The Mix’ in the Otago Daily Times. 

In 2013 she was made a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to writing and education. She lives in Dunedin with her husband, author Philip Temple.

​Poem source details >


Diane Brown's website

Creative Writing Dunedin's website

Photographer credit: Philip Temple