Poetry Shelf Monday Poem: Joan Fleming’s ‘7 Mistakes’

7 Mistakes

The salt sting nights we were two cuts       
            in a tongue that licked December.

Not how the falsely boasted flavour hurt ourselves,
           but how it hurt others.

Certain telephone calls that shone with a doggish fidelity
           as if unafraid.

The well-aimed lighting rig we called radical honesty,
            and all the acts we saw there.

Our sweet, multiple forgivings:
           a peace with a torn hem.

Telling him the reason wasn’t
            love running out.

The completion of
            this poem.

Joan Fleming

Joan Fleming’s latest book is Song of Less (Cordite Books, 2022), a verse novel exploring ritual, taboo and the limits of individualism in the ruins of ecological collapse. She is the author of the poetry collections The Same as Yes and Failed Love Poems (Te Herenga Waka Press), and the pamphlets Two Dreams In Which Things Are Taken (Duets) and Some People’s Favourites (Desperate Literature). Joan is a lecturer in creative writing at Massey University, and lives in Te Whanganui-a-Tara Wellington. 

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