A Farm in the King Country
On the shelf beside the brick chimney piece
in the farmhouse lounge room (off the hall)
a room that was out of the usual run of things
(a lofty box, a sash window, a retreating echo)
I came across a copy of Faces In The Water
(with a dangerous cover) written by a certain
Janet Frame. A woman by her name, and why
would they lie? And from the words written
on the back, she was one of us. Had I never
laid my hands/eyes upon a book by a NZer
before? (No, never.) I read, sitting on the rump
of a dusty sofa, as the other people were doing
something useful outside. Finding chook eggs
in the orchard, milking the house cow, hoeing
cabbages, rendering horse fat to clean harness.
And the stink of her menstrual blood shook me
out of my orbit. (Forever.) Outside this wooden
box a mountain and her sisters claimed ground.
Jennifer Compton was born in Wellington and now lives in Melbourne. Recent work has been published in Antipodes, Cicerone, Not Very Quiet, Poetry New Zealand, Rabbit, Styluslit, The Frogmore Papers, The Moth, and Verity La. Her next book of poetry, ‘the moment, taken’, nears completion.