Poetry Shelf occasional poems: Anuja Mitra’s ‘on hold’

on hold

spend long enough with static 
and it resembles the speech 
of dispirited bees:

a reminder of our erstwhile industry,
bright and abuzz in our work shirts,
our capitalist fatigue.

beehives and hold times
are two things you can’t kick.
a honeyed voice tells me

I’m twelfth in the queue;
their lines overwhelmed
by the tide of our need.

I set down the phone,
let it roll through 
its repertoire of 2000s hits.

the tinny music loops
back like memory, 
bearing our better days

the way a shell bears the sea 
like a trauma: give it your ear
and exhale.

Anuja Mitra

Anuja Mitra lives in Auckland. Her poetry has appeared in places like Landfall, Poetry NZ, takahē, Sweet Mammalian and Starling, with essays and fiction in Cordite and recent anthologies.

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