Settings (Maia Armistead)

I can’t think of anywhere else to set my poems but here. 

Out the window the water is flat like the skin of a drum. 

Out there a solitary boat drags its froth behind it. 

This is a place where you have probably never been. 

It feels strange that you don’t know the breeze off the wharf

Or the shoe shop, or the place where the grass juts off

Into the sea and you can go swimming. Did you know

That when I replay our bookstore conversation I love myself

More than I ever have? I’d like to live in that, but actually

I’m here and living out of a bag and not talking 

To anybody, and not in bookstores either. I am here

Drinking coffee straight out of the fridge and listening

To the Mutton Birds. I’m sweating out a whiskey and coke

And trying very hard not to tell you about the last

Stupid book I read, or the poem I wrote for you.

If I try to imagine another place to set my poem I just

Think about alternate places that I may have been once,

Like in my old bedroom, or down the hill where I was 

Earlier this morning, slogging through the humidity. 

I have no imagination anymore. All I see are the things

That are right in front of me. In the bookstore that day

I really felt like a girl in the city, and since then

I haven’t been in the city so I can’t even write about it 

Or about anything except the sea, and about how

I won’t be seeing you here at all. 


Maia Armistead is a law student from New Zealand who writes poetry on holidays, at night, and before class. She’s been published in such places as Mayhem, Milly, and the Spinoff. 


image: “Mirroring:” My name is Nik James. I live in Billings, Montana. I spend my free time outdoors taking photos, rockhounding, or gathering inspiration for future stories. I am married, have three kids, and have three fur babies. I occupy my work time selling auto parts for a major retailer and have been doing that for the last ten years. I enjoy reading and writing in all genres, I have been working on more activism education over the past few years.