Lynn Davidson


Along River Road II

Sometimes the radio station listens to us
its crackle a kind of labored breathing
huffing on the gloss of our rimu table.

Outside the pretty ferns gather and shiver
like little laughing backs
in a shadowy corner.

              A while ago I lived upstairs in town.
              Today my neighbours are leagues away.

I find a beautiful Texan woman to be friends with.
‘Hi y’all’ she shouts as she bikes up the long driveway.

My husband is handsome
and wears a silky gold shirt.
He makes a pyramid of profiteroles for our visitors.

The mountain snaps like a clean sheet
in the morning.

              A while ago I slept on a beach at Troy,
              slept on roadsides with a gun by my pillow.

There is a half-decent café
forty minutes away by car
although it has a religious text on the wall
that I don’t want to look at.

One day I walk to the black sands beach.
Say hi to someone in a caravan.
Walk back. Takes me most of the day.

Keep loving all the wrong people.
Keep living on hard-to-find roads.

Someone should write a song about it.


Along River Road III
the photographer

Before dinner we go out on the veranda.
Dusk shakes loose honeysuckle scent.

The darkening fields lift and fill.
Something deep down is cresting.

Our friend steps along spongy boards into
and over the rural night

looks with his bare face
at the piling up dark.

I rest against your warm chest.
You stroke my extravagant stomach.

We stand at the edge of what we know
to see what he makes of it.

The house gets lighter and lighter -
a paper lantern and a flame

one star
in an earthy sky.

When he turns his camera on us
we are expecting it. All our small gestures are stills.



Lynn Davidson is the author of three collections of poetry, How to live by the sea, Tender and Mary Shelley’s Window, and a novel, Ghost Net. Her poetry and short stories have appeared in Sport, Landfall, Turbine and The Red Wheelbarrow. She has a poem in the new edition of the poetry anthology Big Weather, poems of Wellington, and in Great Sporting Moments, The Best of Sport Magazine. In 2003 she was awarded the Louis Johnson Writer’s Bursary. She has had a poem selected for The Best of Best New Zealand Poems.

The River Road poems are part of an upcoming collection of poetry and essays, Common Land.