Frances Samuel


From Papyrus

My dear –

light stays outside
the window, and yet,
fills the room

Each thought

of you shines, a needle

My heart

blinks, the eye of it


your shot-
silk lies

You hold out your hand

five fingers cupped
offering air like a flower

Unlike trees

flowers know how
to keep their hands
to themselves

Then there’s the sea

hardly a certainty,
evaporating into sky

Do I, do I

not a birdcall, I am asking

A stone

can split
and take sides
within the fruit

Lights say nothing

they just show us
to each other



I am trying to step over enough drunken men
to draw pictures on little kids’ feet, perched along the riverbank;
they love how I draw pictures in another language.

I am trying to avoid the wet Russian man
who wants to show me his penis.
I wish grass were longer, and water, less transparent.

I catch hold the feet of a low bird,
air-lift out of the scene.
Go by men, go by me
figure in the centre –
I have my eye on you.

A pen and a body can be refilled
when they’re empty there’s no point
scratching like a hen for words.



Frances Samuel is a writer from Wellington, New Zealand. Her work has also appeared in Sport, Staple and Turbine.