Poems by Eliana Gray

Starting the morning at St Kilda

Green brown scum
on the chevron sand
threading the edge
of the waves

I hope it’s decomposing kelp
and not the wastewater house
down the coast
I swim anyway
and never google it
when I get home

My friend tells me about surfing
off the left end of Smails
and getting an ear infection

Pipes sputter into the harbour
slick glossy in the water
I swim off the wharf
and need to wash myself

We were on the sand for hours
before noticing
the penguin carcass
everything looks like kelp

I’m only now old enough
to experience the consequences
of my body
How long it takes to carry an action

The tide sucks at my legs
every day I’m worried
it will take me home

Choosing between social engagements may very well kill me

One hand on the email
the other on my throat
Begging please dear god
not another exclamation mark

Not another chirp to fill the silence
another yes before the ask
Guided by a high pitched thrumming
below the centre of my chest

We were standing in the cafe
halfway through see-you-laters
When you asked me
it could have been anything

I’m knee deep in your validation
wading doggedly towards the signs
I’ve made myself indispensable
as I always strive to do

Goodest girl, bestest boy
I’ll unhinge my jaw for anything
Become a murder-board containing
pictures of read receipts, gollums
and the attachment styles Wikipedia page

I read too many children’s books
and learned that greed is disgusting
I try to hold myself
as tightly as I can

Eliana Gray is a poet living in Ōtepoti. You can find their work in various places, both print and digital, such as Landfall, Cordite, The Spinoff, and Poetry Aotearoa Yearbook. Last month, they swam with a stingray and loved it.