I used to smoke
but now
while my daughter sleeps
I pull on a coat and sit outside: after all

it is nearly the same, to
quiet oneself and
taste the air
crisp and thick with resin.

There are bored ancients in this land,
sunk deep in cold pools and slumbering
under their mantle of fallen pinecones.
I sleep easy with them.
No, it’s other horrors:

the night before
I had dreamt every key
to the world’s doors had been thrown
into a jumbled clutch
and a great fire was burning
unchecked in the tundra. This second
part was true.

I don’t have any talismans left and
my open hands are empty.

About the author
Alexandra Hamilton is raising her daughter in the central North Island of New Zealand. She has been published in a fine line and has used lockdown to organise her bookshelves by colour.