Issue 30: Iain Britton

Enclosed in Parenthesis — (ghosting)




time resonates an ecology of substance


to be viewed  


from a night of white flowers ghosting through dreams



change is taking off one’s clothes is putting them on



is living between mirrors feeling pulses

temperatures     passion’s brief journey its lap


of honour i swallow a deity’s breath  living off


its radiance   its brightly-lit interpretation of earth talk



i’m part of the uncontaminated kiss










a youthfulness is played out 

                a garland of static reverie

complements this girl’s fulfilment 



a wind shift



threatens the nature of small freesias


growing in the brushed lines of her hair in the exposed  


fluctuations of who she might be a mother


& child clasped together










cloaked in colour        beyond


the touch of hands       beyond poetry


breeders & priests      i feel deeply the prize


of her own perfection      smooth



like a large exaggerated peach unblemished

by fingers licked at by rain   by family intrusiveness


quilted into the soft cladding of her clothes    


i acknowledge


the love child of a Piscean birth










a magnolia’s deformity attracts love’s obstinacy


not to walk away     but to reflect on 


the transformative nature of spring’s wild branches     


of birds newly-hatched   newly-ruffled & scampering away


to ceremonies of survival










venerated by generations youths dive for coins


plunge amongst bubble chains


where fish hang deep & curious       the river captures


nerves in clouds   a school choir passes



& i agitate the water’s surface


                                   a glitz of sunlight somersaults


i rake my fingers amongst islands of fern


picking up scaly flakes from a peeled-off season










later i explore a composite entity hunched up      crowded


but never alone

the girl lives on music in the blood        she 


leans against her cello  her cello feels for her hands


she steps silently into the circumference of a sound










curative properties indulge themselves


              entering furtively        i look at

this peristaltic flow of exposure


i look at the moon hooked to a branch


it claims affinity     it swings       it swivels      


& the whole tree lights up a shadow slithers


ripe for the picking   it coils around the girl’s arm


nudges at her face paints her lips green


then disappears


into the moon’s mouth   shining wet & sipping










            mirrored in images    


the sky grips the earth’s back


grips its skin      & sinks into a deep blue stillness


hugs multiple streams     rocks     hills


it contracts & suddenly


arching night colours


     reshape the gravitational pull










          to know the girl


her body   her fingerprints on books on vases 


on my everyday living   time’s


corrosive features seem tangible enough i touch



the phantom of a picture

the blurred white outline


of a future


the widening soundshell of the universe



it holds a collective calling 


the immediacy of her body in mine     our youth


walking on mirages of water










appropriation speaks of love-taking


of landscape-taking



& a sky full of balloons   & what


becomes of them       these balloons some are snagged by fissures

in clouds   some are dragging their strings


across paddocks & the girl trapped in her own astral orbit


                           rolls herself in liquid gold

Iain Britton is an Aotearoa New Zealand poet and author of several poetry collections. His work has been nominated for a Forward Prize for Best Single Poem and Best First Collection. Poems have been published or are forthcoming in Harvard Review, Poetry, The New York Times, Wild Court, Blackbox Manifold, The Scores Journal, Stand, Agenda, New Statesman, Poetry Birmingham and Poetry Wales. The Intaglio Poems was published by Hesterglock Press in 2017. A new chapbook, Project Constellation, was launched in London by Sampson Low in 2022. 

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