Slow Codes

Bill Nelson Click to

Bill Nelson currently lives Wellington, New Zealand. He completed an MA in Creative Writing at the Victoria University Wellington in 2009, where he was awarded the Biggs Poetry Prize. He has been published in New Zealand journals, such as Hue and Cry, Sport, The 4th Floor and Turbine. Currently, he is working on a manuscript of poems that explores the voice and acts of ventriloquism.

There is a hand asleep
under a heavy hip bone.
There is memory of love,
a pip and soft bruises.

I’m not sure how we fit
but it seems this dead hand
is my hand, this angular
body is your body.

All night we lie this way
and I am jerked awake
by a bird I can hardly
remember. I pull out

my lifeless arm and drape it
over your shoulder. It’s okay,
you say, as if I have asked
an impossible question.

In a few moments the numb
goes and you drift off
and I’m not sure you ever were
actually here.

The blood gradually returns
to my fingers and the sticky
branches of a spring wind
tap a slow code into the wall.


Note: “Slow Codes” is a poem born and raised in Wellington, a place the New Zealand poet Lauris Edmond once called “the city of action, the world headquarters of the verb.”


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