At home with contingency
breeze arrives like a first
principle. Autumn.

Red leaves welcomed, one
by one, into the yawning
corridor. A season’s calm
demolitions, diminishing

imaginary saturations
of foliage on the threshold.


Window shocked
from the centre out, a spider
web ripple.

Transparency insurance,
daylight commandeering
other arms,

new violet lucidity.
A passage through
bathroom steam in a sequence

of traditions, the house-
painter’s wash-up


Nostalgia’s exhausted
fanaticism, a little-
known need of the senses,

is enough to distress
the drywall

in memory. Thumbs squawk
across matte finish, fingernails set
against edification. Milk flesh

olive in evening.


‘The loudest quiet
street in Auckland.’

The crisis is dramatised
thus, this gently
noxious odour a neighbour’s

responsibility. Privacy
delights in cautiously
collapsing distances.

The shower over an hour
ago, an aura
of warmth still clings to her.


Ropes of mist
enhance the typically
invisible line between
properties, slack there

so long a species of weed
might take hold

mid-air. Over the ambit
an argument in two
different languages,

mutually interpreted
with reference to a common

the myth of Narcissus.


Under the couches, into
the corners the dead leaves die

further. Zoning
precautions, inspectors.

Building an arbour
without any natives

is historical
windbreak, shade and the illusion

of seasonal change
for at least another decade.


Arrested development
whose ownership blurs
in real estate

legend. ‘Twenty years
since construction began…

…there are Norfolk pines

than the foundation.’


Her attention is an accident
of resistance, shattering
her reflection to get

clean, hammering
the water so hard she might be

forging an object
amid the speculation, fresh


Steven Toussaint (© 2017)