an Aotearoa poetry journal | ISSN 2744-3248

Poems by Alexandra Fraser

Binding the mother wound

Alexandra Fraser

Published on
page 24 of Tarot #4
(June 2022)

You were a small girl
clinging to yourself

because everything
was left empty

one way or another

you built yourself up
from the inside out

ribs first, a cage for lungs
shattered but lasting

breathe in breathe out
the heart with its pale

fragile beat, locked inside
its bars of bone, a stomach

tied in knots, a clever mind
storing every fact and hurt

your spine rigid, holding
certainty and loss

and hidden deep a womb
to bring the love you needed

You should have known
when you gave birth to me

that I was only a child
I could not feed you

clothe you, hold you
fast against the dark night

Memoir in an empty vessel

Alexandra Fraser

Published on
page 28 of Tarot #4
(June 2022)

Archaeologists like pots
all the empty vessels holding stories
all the bowls   flasks   amphorae 
with dried and baked-in residues
fractions of past sustenances 
past pleasures

Scrape and analyse
dregs from those abandoned sherds 
if you are willing 
if you have the tools 
to excavate the emptiness

scratch meanings from remains
subject them to analysis
reconstruct the lost
what might be left of me 
my nothingness
for you to remember 

I’m hunting through my past 
it looks hollow
but I measure 
carbon and nitrogen isotopes 
see patterns    find stoned 
dancing at the old synagogue 
the coldness of night sand dunes 
dawn frost and bird counts 
noon poetry
amorphous organic remains
absorbed in to the clay 
enduring over millennia

terrestrial animal fats 
aquatic animal fats 
plant oils and waxes
a good stew by a blazing fire
and cheese of a sort

fermented rice 
hawthorn grapes and honey 
a wild white wine for 
partying by the Yellow River 
that brief 9000 years ago