Mayhem Literary Journal is generously sponsored for 2019 by Te Whare Wananga o Waikato, The University of Waikato
issue 5

october 2017

issue 5 - october 2017

Amber - Aimee-Jane Anderson-O'Connor

I
Choose a house. Brick. White Door. Take a torch and look under the floorboards. Fibreglass falling. Friction Fit. Wear mud on your knees. The smoke alarm blinking. Turn on all the taps full bore and open up the windows. Take your shoes off. Walk its cool length. Imagine yourself living here. The green drip of the bath. Paint puckered in the corners. Crumbs cooked onto the element. A Chrysanthemum bush. Silver hair caught in the netting. An appendix in the kitchen drawer. Draw a floor plan. Shop by eye. Get a cookbook with a velvet ribbon. Red. You were meant to be engaged by now. Your toothbrush alone in a melamine cup. Your teeth in your gums. Your teeth in your hands. Your hands deep hollows. Quit thinking of him at 2am. You need to sleep.

II
If you eat pizza in the shower and wash your mouth out with vodka then you are really doing your whole morning regime in one. Vodka sterilises things, settles in your molars like the sea caught in halogen bulbs, green army men pouring out of a white Nissan. Gulls swarm the tug boat like a school of floss phantom. The best cure for a hangover is a whole California orange, suckled down sweet and pip. On the shower floor it looks like one of those fantail goldfish gone through the blender. Neon icing drips from the strobe lights. This is a baptism two tequilas too late. Heels are for running. Mascara is for the lowtide. Swallow your heartbreak with a slice of lemon and a lick of salt.

III
Wake to the fire siren wail of your baby cousin and stomach a month of pills all at once. Cursor the rosebud family you built together and put them into the mansion pool. Remove all the ladders and watch them circle till they drown. Take to every grapefruit in the world with a sledgehammer and rollerblade in the pulp. Stalk the engagement photos until you believe in life on Mars and then open the Moscato. Watch condensation drip down the windows like stretch marks slow and wet. The rock on her finger pop candy, cut seaglass, crystal meth. Pick up the phone, 1980 called and you weren’t even born yet. Quit being nostalgic for shit wasn’t yours in the first place.

Knead - Aimee-Jane Anderson-O'Connor

Your thighs are warm with him
lying there ass up
on teal flannel sheets
and you knead his knots 
you knead him deep
fists and knuckles
you knead
him to hear you.
A moth tinks at the window and
the paddocks hum electric.

The hair on his neck is
honeyash
and stiffens to your touch.
Write sunshine on his skin.
Trace cinnamon on his back.
butterscotch 
sycamore
eclipse
They

called you last night
while he was in the shower
and you wrote the word
on the back of the grocery receipt and you
dropped it in the waste disposal
with a mandarin
hard and white and buzzing.

You squeaked the word in morning mirror fog,
scratched it in the ice on your windshield 
and watched it melt.
Rattled it to yourself
air-conditioned
in an email 
addressed to everyone you’re gonna need.
You deleted it before you found the nerve so
write it now.

Contributor's Note

Aimee-Jane Anderson-O’Connor is completing an honours degree in English at the University of Waikato, and was recently announced as the co-winner of the 2017 Monash Prize for Emerging Writers. Her work has appeared in Starling, Mayhem, Brief, Poetry New Zealand, Landfall, and Verge. She writes thanks to the tireless support of some of the best people on this great watery rock.

 

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