Poetry Competition 2016 – Second Place

James Ackhurst is a Wellington-based writer and translator.  His poems have appeared in Poetry New Zealand, Turbine, and Snorkel, as well as in a previous issue of takahe.

Spirited Away

When you go that way
(to a part of town you’ve never seen before,
though it’s always been just around the corner)
don’t ask where the broken road will take you,
what a goat’s arse is watching you,
don’t ask about the chickens guarding the door
like the trio of grunting hopping heads
in that masterpiece of anime
that got transformed into the giant baby
(the fake one).
Drink the coffee she grinds for you
in the priceless porcelain pencil-sharpener;
let yourself be guided to
the balcony with the towels like Tibetan prayers,
the landing where Jesus watches the stars,
the bedroom with its ten-foot coil of rope.
And afterwards, turn your attention to
the incense stick she holds for you
and then beyond it, to the open window,
where a screen of leaves affords a view
of everything and nothing.


First published takahe 88
December 2016