Poetry Shelf connections: Frankie McMillan’s ‘We are not out of the woods yet’


We are not out of the woods yet



In the Netherlands during the war

the news came from watching

the windmills, sails set to indicate

good news or bad.


Here we shelter in place

in a city street and watch the one o’clock

Ashley Bloomfield show.

We wait for the numbers,

the dip and rise


of probable and confirmed and

the suspected cases who remain suspected

who drag their bodies from one day’s count

into the next, perhaps peering from their window

at the dark and tilted trees.


Meanwhile from our thick and boundless dreams

the scuffle of an unknown beast

rough nose pressed against the pane

checking to see if there has been change

in what was once our living room.



Frankie McMillan 2020


Frankie McMillan is the author of five books, the most recent of which, The Father of Octopus Wrestling and other small fictions, was listed by The Spinoff as one of the 10 best New Zealand fiction books of 2019. Her previous book , My Mother and the Hungarians and other small fictions was long listed for the NZ Ockham Book Awards, 2017. She was awarded the NZSA Peter and Dianne Beatson Fellowship in 2019. Frankie currently teaches at the Hagley Writers’ Institute in Christchurch.

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