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Rebecca Hawkes


not using our inside voices
barefoot & hefting

matching backpacks
down the school bus steps

to the intersection at the edge of our farm
grass a crinkly beige & sky split ozone blue

forgotten apple smushed under my lunchbox
leaks a dribble of sickly liquid

body temperature rivulet
down the back of my shorts

feet stickening with the squelchy pop of tar
bubbled on the main road

the inland scenic route chip seal
that gets molten every twenty-degree day

then ripped up in chunks by passing milk tankers
gouging out the infrastructure of each summer

to winter us later in potholes
that frost over as stomped ice mornings

crack & splash in our good school shoes
until the bus comes

but for now it’s freckling season
sun-drenched & primal we pick 

hot black bitumen off our calluses
use it to glue dry pine needles together

into combs & swords & witch amulets
knees scabbed in the dirt to fuss & bicker

having already forgotten
the permission slips we were shipped home with

then a brackish whiff
something feral

musks its way through the pine plantation
to slink over the state highway

brittle talismans crush in our hands
did you see it

that whiskered blackness that solid shadow
sleek haunch and broad paw pad

larger than a labrador
smaller than a cow

only a breathless haze where it went
heat rippling off the highway in the distance

a vacant mirage pooled between
the yellow pasture & the ordinary sky

clutch of splintered pine needles lancing palms
clotted with tar & dust

the seeping reek
from the sack of lamb tails slumped at the side of the road

Her Touchscreen Responding Breathlessly To Any DiElectric Constant Different From Air

no rosebuds from the bachelor today. a new self-diagnosis
of chronic oversharing. languid in her strappy bralette

and satins she selects an emoticon to react with. gold coin
of worship embossed with a face that belongs to her and to everyone.

that face when. that feel. emoji catharsis. snapchat solipsist metabolising
her easy velveteen sentiment resplendent in effortless

feeling. see there’s her problem: demanding permission
to suffer without feeling real pain. the confessional

thinkpiece genre going obsolete. post-privacy
sacrificing her secrets on an altar of disclosure

is worth less than it used to be. new tributes are needed.
a flurry of bursting hearts. nude duckface selfie at a vacant

dining table laden with fake crystal fruit and ornamental vases.
long glittery acrylic nails that pinch to jerk off with

but they’re how you know she’s worth it. consumption
ouroboric in this gluttony of feeds. she’s seen things

even she still doesn’t believe. a dashcam gif of a brick
through a windscreen. busty mature catgirl neo-nazis.

the bifurcated penis of a bandicoot. should she be jealous
she’s never received an unsolicited dick pic? thumb down

on the bobbing needle which stitches the next word
into the screen. embroidered memetic tweeting.

she makes out with her data double. shedding morsels
of intel like skin cells. cyborg gemini. me :: myselfie. you are not

a goddess. blasphemous evangelist a prude a slut. is she less
than a hologram to him? teetering on the rapturous threshold

of send and sent. message request accepted.
binaried life splitting half her time waiting for a reply

worrying he doesn’t like her enough and the rest waiting to reply
so he doesn’t think she likes him too much. beneath

the highlight and filter she is still hormone and raw meat.
pink at the centre, crimson, she is so ready

but purgatoried in messenger. pixel breath
misting the screen. cracked heart emoticon left on seen.

Rebecca Hawkes can usually be found writing, painting or painstakingly catching insects to feed her pitcher plant. You can hunt out more of her work scattered across the internet in places like Sport, Turbine, RNZ and Mayhem – or collected for your convenience at

Regarding ‘Sighting’, Rebecca writes: ‘This poem is inspired by the mysterious Mid-Canterbury Black Panther, a recurring local myth propagated through the Selwyn District since the ’90s. Sightings are reported to this day, although panthers have an average life expectancy of 15 years, so if it’s the same cat it’s probably getting old. I saw it when I was a kid. I know I saw something.’