Sabina, and the Chain of Friendship

Anna Jackson Click to

Anna Jackson’s most recent collection of poetry, Thicket, was published by Auckland University Press in 2011. ¬†She lives in Island Bay on Wellington’s wild south coast and lectures in the English department at Victoria University of Wellington.

Sabina sits holding a hen looking more
like a hen than the hen looks.
It is her face, lifted up, the way
hens lift up their faces, wary,
or the way they eye each other up
a little lofty, a little haughty.
Sabina has a theory about loyalty:
talking behind their backs
is only disloyal down the chain:
you don’t criticise your best friend
to a new friend but you can criticise
a good friend to your best friend or
the new friend to a better friend.
Boyfriends gradually get worked up
the chain till, when you can criticise
your best friend to them, but
not them to your best friend, that’s
how you know it is time to marry them.
The dream that you are walking over glass
to reach the other man?
You don’t tell that to anyone.


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