Tuesday Poem – City Living

City Living

Two middle-aged goldfish
tirelessly circle their tank

In the bars on Courtenay Place
twenty-somethings text each other

Apartment-dwelling cats
eye the trolley buses below

I cooked chicken for dinner
but you didn’t come home

The beautiful open window
admits moths, as well as air

This is another of mine, first published in ‘An Exchange of Gifts’ (NZ Poetry Society anthology); it also appears in ‘AUP New Poets 3’ (Auckland University Press).

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  1. I like this poem a lot, although I find it hard to say exactly why – the closest I can find is to say that the whole poem circles round itself, then opens out unexpectedly at the end.

  2. Yes – I like this poem, too. The circling feeling – as you say Tim – that verges on claustrophobia – the couplets layer image on top of image – people and creatures all caught inside their city lives – even the buses are attached – and then there’s the ‘beautiful open window’ – ‘beautiful’ jumps out there – and moths that will circle of course – but air, too, thank goodness. I’ve read this poem a few times and enjoyed the re-readings. Thanks Janis.

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