The Field: Persephone

              For Eurydice Dixon

I am the girl led out into the field / The woman in the blue
business suit holding a paper coffee cup / waiting

to cross / Hit by a car and thrown in the boot / The woman forced
to dig her own grave / I lose my eyes to acid / I call 111

and say There’s an intruder inside the house / They tell me
Find something heavy… A golf club? Can you go to a neighbour’s

house? / They give out blunt knives / Advise a stab vest
beneath my clothes / I am in the bathroom when he decides /

When he puts on his trainers for extra leverage / In the dark,
I do not see that he has removed the passenger seat / I smell the chloroform

too late / I hear a careful step before I feel the blow /
I marvel at my wet, bloody hand as I move it along

the back of my head and bring it to my face / The moon shines
on his throat / The moon shines on the field /

I am walking with my sisters when the group of men appear /
I am the woman in the stadium / I feel the first stone /

It is the first time I am allowed to walk to the bus stop
alone / He says Women unconsciously long for a man to take

control / My body is found in the river / My body is found in the
alley / They think it is a bundle of rags at first / My face slowly

uncovered / The soil brushed away / My drowned hand
where the skin sloughs off like a glove / My skull waiting for him

to return / I am the girl in the dumping ground / The 1 in 4; 3 in 5;
1 in 10 / I am 18, 22, 46, 78, 14 / A mannequin this night / So still

in the moonlight / So quiet, then realising they are gone
something forces me to run / He puts a mirror underneath so he can watch

himself / He says I know what you are / The moon pools in his throat /
And all the time I am digging I am thinking I’m glad it is me

not her / I am cleaning the window outside the shop / Herding
goats when the men come / Hanging out the washing on the

line / Walking along the river with the dog /
I am the woman silent through it all / The girl

who screams / The woman who fights / I am the girl who travels
somewhere else / The out-of-body girl / The woman who dies

and floats to the branches of a tree / The girl who watches
while the paramedics try to bring her back to this world of mud /

And it is so cold here (in the field) / And it is so cold here
(in the tree) / So pure and cold and brittle with the breath of angels.


First published in Abridged

About the author
Wes Lee lives in Paekakariki. Her latest poetry collection, By the Lapels, was launched in Wellington (Steele Roberts Aotearoa, 2019). Her work has appeared in Best New Zealand Poems, Poetry London, Westerly, Landfall, Poetry New Zealand, Turbine, The New Zealand Listener, Australian Poetry Journal, among others. Most recently she was awarded the Poetry New Zealand Prize 2019 by Massey University Press.