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A boy I once loved
Heidi North-Bailey (Auckland University, New Zealand)



Art class summer

He was more than cute
he was the beautiful boy
the dangerous

Dark hair
long fingers that floated
over the canvas
blue paint orbits, the universe
under his fingernails.

Art class summer
fizzy heat and freshly mown grass,
oil paint skies, I never knew
what he was drawing

I used to go to the pizza shop
to watch him at work
order pizza to catch
a brief glimpse of those eyes.

It is impossible to think of him
wasting away,
mother’s arms stronger than his own

impossible to think of him
the word rises up
spills out of my mouth

but cannot hold him.

At the movies

Of course, it is years later
and it is New Zealand,
it is our hometown
it is bound to happen

Living in London does not save me
from travelling home, right
to the heart
of it
find myself introduced to a woman –
I have become unaccustomed to
seeking recognition in faces –
and there she is
she has killer cheekbones
and still I do not know
not to ask, when she mentions our
high school
who her children were
she says his name last
and I say He’s a year older than me
or do I say was
later I think about it but still I do not know, only that
the wrongness
needles into me
I watch it cross her face
so that I am not sure anymore
if I misheard the news
if the line cracked and I got the wrong boy
so I say nothing more
but I know. I know from the way the other women look
at me, sinner
they say,



Heidi North-Bailey won an International Irish poetry competition (Feile Filiochta International Poetry Competition) in 2007. Returning to NZ in 2011 after four years in London, she received a grant from the NZ Society of Authors for help finishing her first poetry collection, Things I wanted to tell you. She now aims to get it published.

A writer and freelance editor from Auckland, she is currently studying towards a Master’s in Scriptwriting and Directing for Film at Auckland University. She is working on a screenplay and chipping away at a novel.

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