Two poems by Leah Dodd

bus poem #2

bikini kill plays softly

on the driver’s

             Bluetooth speaker

a woman in black gives a fistful

of cigarettes to a person sitting

              outside countdown

wide lonely clouds
             sweep across the city

locked doors glint

             in the dark

an op shop window presents

a pack of tarot

             a tarnished buddha

sleeves billow in the wind

like candlestick maidens

             gothic and restless

a girl with a purple instrument case

talks on the phone while she walks

             says HA

two chandeliers glow

on the ground floor

             of M’s old flat

the couple up front sever

in two

             when one gets off

at Kelburn shops

thick lilies line the hills

like white knights

            with buttered tongues

all the houses have beating hearts

small flames

            that burn within


in poems, babies are like snacks
they are doughy loaves, apple-cheeked

sweet as pie, sausage toed

like the hungry caterpillar except

the snacks are small human limbs

I fall victim to the metaphor
call my peach fuzzed baby yummy

because he is so tasty I could just toss him in some olive oil
then roll him into a kebab

I had a friend who kept six kittens

in a cardboard box

I had to physically stop her from nibbling

their tiny grey ears off because
they were so cute she
couldn’t help herself

this is similar: the sweet milky smell

of brand-new skin,

those pillowy cloud-nine cheeks, the tiny hands

it’s a perfect storm
like looking over the edge
of a cliff, arms full of treasure

Leah Dodd is a Wellington poet who is currently studying an MA in Poetry at the International Institute of Modern Letters. Her work has appeared in Starling, Stasis, the 2021 Poetry New Zealand Yearbook and other places.