Gullible eggs (reprise)

My mother lied with tenderness, sweet
aplomb, and range;
she’d seen a century, our crooked sea-swelled house
cost a million, and all babies were born with feathers
that softened the world’s edges

She blew drifts of invisible down from my cochlea
eased fine barbs from my eyes
and just like that I could see them, settling around me
But you, my chickadee, are special, she said, it is clear,
as I conducted flurries, hearing snowbird music

In my secret tunnels behind the grazing toitoi, the voice popped fricatives
blistering the skin of the ground to open speaking wounds
The tidewrack treehut quaked, strobe-boom-sand-shiver, leaves a hurting green
So quickly I found my friends did not have ancient mothers
who had plucked them free of birth-fluff in their nests

No bird can keep a secret, and my own cuts became too loud, perhaps it was
when I autopsied the sea (she is dying) to better hear the crystal chime of her teeth
rimed blue with salt and festooned with seaweed tripes, they fished me up
and I woke head netted, deepsea-phosphorescent with electric dots, stinking of burning
eider, so I learned to lie – almost as well as my mother

She’s two decades shy of a hundred, and all the tilting seaside-huts do now cost a million
I tell her I’m okay and it’s true and not-true, but
when the world speaks in blizzards, I catch every feather
lay them opaque upon her eyes, puff cumulus to spiral her eardrums
For you, my mummer-bird, are special – that was always clear,
and now
is the time for soft edges  

Take two (2) in the morning, after disclosing as needed


The medicine I drip… dripped into you was my own discovery
      -this is how you save a life when you’re both six-
One leaf shrined from autumn, yellow siren
loud, calling the tongue to
lick a prayer, synapses sherbetting, buds on hard fizz
      -burn from your mouth those words-

Two rabbits escape through a rose-garden
philtre-whispers fill your ear on the hoof : this secret I know is the biggest
      -it did not loom like yours or mine but oh I wanted it to block out the sun-
Did you know, every colour tastes different
      anticipation adrenalined you back to life behind your eyes

Methodical of jaw, we ate our way around the hybrid teas, sampled floribunda, ramblers
rules laid obvious; a single bite from each, then judgement
one careful, perfect close of teeth
      -proud-lost incisor, you must tilt your head like a question for any decent

around the quivering heart (so red, gold, white as a lie), leaving each bloom
neatly gutted

      – this is what love is-
Your winner was shivery-pink, delicate as a
-Secret-Rosa, Rosa-Secret-
I spat icebergs, you strained someone
else’s laugh through pulped crimson, and I would
never tell you about the bitter worm
I chewed that day and quietly


Weak morning startles in, an accusation : hoar
frost, so cold after
its homonym broke your nightbefore mouth
and that was the first time it marked someone I knew, he’d pinned it right
where you’d remember, a label inside you/r school clothes waiting
like it was your new name

All night you’d snotted out rage and I fed it
on the ugly bones of your house,
outside the world changed, fronded out this frosted shell and
hid its guts, just waiting
for us to flee from all that can’t-unsay, feet
punch-punching through ice crust skin like all the eggs you’d walked on and I swore
I swear, those crushed green atolls strung out wet with life behind
invitation, nothing for it but to lie
down, confirm our vital shapes, press hands
faces tongues to conquer the scabbing creep
of white, white

She revived fierce and ready
mutual mouth to
mouth shock shuddering her up through the ground and Kuramarotini
Ur-roared your frozen ear awake with kindred recognition
I heard her tell you, girl, you get up now, you stride
across what’s exposed, over
my chain of mountain tips
you feel a small island, but we are the jutpeaks of secret
continents, deep-hid shapes our own unknown, and
no hard seas can drown us


She was waiting – just
like I planned it, years
on the brink

my bare toes plug into the sand
I am thrumming, how
the tide hisses about resolve

When the foam steams in
I am unearthed, loss-
laxed sinews livewires
broken switches arcing

She slams home the current
the world jolts, deep
secrets bang from my splits
shocking, how familiar
her fear of slow evaporation

I reel home on blistered
soles to lie about no plans and wet clothes
your mouth twists wavelets
the room darkens, the lights

of the burned-out city
that has become my body
flicker on one by one by one
a gull of sound leaves you

With that, my long drying-up is ended
the electric sea
floods from me
in torrents

Ankh Spice is a poet from New Zealand, obsessed with the sea. He is a survivor of various asylums, who writes because he has been unsuccessful hiding his lack of skin. His poetry keeps breathing, even when it hurts, mostly exhaling in natural images. He has recent/upcoming poems published in Pixelheart Magazine, The Failure Baler, and Black Bough Poems.

Texts, images and video by Ankh Spice. @SeaGoatScreams