ALEXANDRA FRASER lives in Grey Lynn. After some years teaching science she now has a quiet job in a doctor’s office. This gives her time to write poetry – her poems have appeared in magazines in Australia and New Zealand, including Landfall 215, JAAM 25, Poetrix and Catalyst – and to work on a children’s science fiction book.

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       Mother Love

       1: Demeter
       Child, where have you gone?
       I walk dark streets,
       mocked by menwomen in stilettos.
       My life is now this wasteland
       of dry eyes. My tears long gone,
       washed away in gutters filled with
       syringes condoms food wrappers.
       The street-lights do not reach here;
       there is no more brightness to my life.

       Someone took you, seduced you
       from your ponies, your study, your flute.
       Though I hear your stumbled scales
       echoing in the barren house,

       Without you there will be no spring,
       no scent of freesias on a warm wind.
       I ask; I beg.
       What deal could I make
       to bring you back for just one summer’s day?

       2: Persephone
       Was it worth it?
       leaving the bright lights
       the parties
       the clear blue sky
       hot sand on the
       ocean’s edge

       Back then, I thought the world
       well lost for love
       Remember how I ran and ran
       down the summer fields
       to drown in your
       dark whirlpool
       caught by your kisses
       seduced by the fearful thrill
       of that other life

       Oh love is rich
       and all consuming
       nights and nights
       of febrile darkness
       Sometimes now
       I long for freesias
       a sweet apple
       I even miss my Mum.

       The Ecological Niche of Manawa

       Honey scented air in the early dawn
       Hum of insects, cut short by
       The whirl and spin of swallows
       Here the mangroves fill the bay’s curve
       Edge the reclaimed sports field
       With a rumpled olive carpet
       Pneumatophores spike through
       The black anoxic substrate, reaching for air
       Amphibola crenata glide, sucking mud
       Helice crassa are a fidget of movement
       From hole to hole, scavenging algae
       Below the surface roots spread, network,
       Capturing the flow of silt from the land
       Stabilising the edge

       Hold the blade just so
       Slice through the aerial root, the leaf
       Examine the thin section –
       Find –
       What will we find?
       Structures to defeat a harsh environment
       Gain fresh water from salt
       Oxygen from airless mud
       Stabilise the shore

       I can’t see the symbolism of mangroves
       There is nothing here to shore me up
       Against the incoming tide
       The salt water on the face
       The inundations of loss