Wes Lee


The way I wake with you.
The way you change.
How are you you anymore?

Fifteen years of fishing
you up and throwing you back
(the same fish grown paler),

why, your mouth seems to be glued.
You stare, incapable of language.
What does the brain do —

the mysterious interior where for all
I know you may be locked in a room.
When the body lays down

and the neck sinks to feather,
the locks click open.
Mornings are for working out (the vagaries).

There is something you want me
to know. There is something
I don't want to know.

You change
but this is no growing.


She said It could be a can of peaches.

The worms fell back for a few days.
And that golden tin lid lifted
and those soft unctuous things settled
and I told her I imagined a bird
that’s what I told her, flying away.

The Words

And sometimes now
I say them to myself and remember you
being so honest.

My hands at the wheel.
It was night
and you were shrouded
in the darkness of it.

I glanced in the rear-view mirror
to search out the aftermath
of your face.

Wes Lee lives in Paekakariki on the Kāpiti Coast of New Zealand. Her work has appeared in Cordite, The Australian Poetry Journal, Westerly, Going Down Swinging, among others. Most recently she was awarded the Poetry New Zealand Prize 2019 by Massey University Press. Her latest poetry collection is By the Lapels (Steele Roberts Aotearoa, 2019).
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