Mary Macpherson



‘… but something told me that ten years had passed … it’s like pushing open a door that doesn’t work the same ten years later …’
         — Ed Ruscha, Leave Any Information at the Signal, MIT Press.

Something told me that ten years had passed.
I don’t mean how the future
is once again silver and metallic
while we watch a black tv.

The paint was clean, curtains hung in folds,
but there was something about the air
and how doors opened in a way
that wasn’t familiar.

I thought of ‘original condition
meaning rooms and furniture
once connected to our lives that now
wait hopelessly for rescue.

Then I wondered how the years had passed:
sunlight swimming through the glass; a moon
brightening shadow nearly every night.
In the stillness, the outside world

would fall away and everything that once existed
in our lives, but disappeared or faded,
could exist again, without effort,
without sadness.



A couch was important,
it was covered in fabric
called ‘two-tone defiance’. Wet birds
shook themselves out of trees.

You held the cat in midair
and the saying was
‘one hand on his brain
the other on his potatoes’.

‘Prison does not provide an elderly person’s idyllic life
of flowers, dogs and cleaning the house,’ you said.

The potatoes turned over
in a flash of clods. Daylight
shimmered over everything.
Nothing was solved
by the flow of time.



Mary Macpherson is a Wellington poet and photographer. Her publications are Millionaire’s Shortbread, University of Otago Press 2003 (joint collection) and the inland eye, Pemmican Press, 1999.