There was too much to say

so she said nothing


The words knotted their arms together

all octopus and impenetrable ocean


swam furiously

but could not find the surface

_ _ _ _

From Bullet Hole Riddle (Steele Roberts, 2014) 

Cover art by Elke Finkenauer, Hang, hand-cut suede....

No is one of our oldest crafts

for some of us it is the first word we learn

for others it is the first word we unlearn

the fire horse in us bucking the entire time

at how we give in

how we tame ourselves

_ _ _ _

From Bullet Hole Riddle (Steele Roberts, 2014)
Bullet Hole Ri...

Last week

my friends, Cassandra

me, a small voiced wonder

minding about the world


Today telephoned

said I'm going to tell you

about yesterday

I couldn't think anything

besides           hard


The world said then

lowering her voice

let me in

and, she added, hur...

My body is not a clock

it has driftwood in it

four stone adzes

a beech tree, kauri

a stand of kahikatea

in the swamp

six pieces of broken glass

on the tide line

five of them

polished smooth



My body is not a clock

it has the sound

of wind arriving in the trees

a two am cargo train


We carry these little histories

like so many houses


All these different doors we find

to hide behind/to walk through/

leave open/to close




Bartering our existence

we exchange small piece...

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A selection of poems from Miriam Barr's first major collection, Bullet Hole Riddle. 

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