AN INVENTORY OF POTIONS IN TANKA | Elizabeth Morton
walks past the nurses’ station,
hands in her pockets.
The lights gutter – small signals
to an inmate’s cartoon God.
runs her fingers through her hair –
bleeds the watercooler dry.
Words stick like wrecked train cars. O.
picks through lovers like white meat,
swallows the headlines.
If there is an animal
with four stomachs, she is it.
spit and paunch, seizure and light.
She makes a small God
out of origami card.
She is the shrinking violet.
of tin-men and rust hinges.
Alarm in her chest
is a hundred thousand gnats
hitting the moth lamp, head first.
slow as shame. She bows to each
nurse, and falls apart
so quietly, a soft bird.
Nobody counts the feathers.
Elizabeth Morton is a writer who has published in New Zealand, Australia, Ireland, the UK, Canada and the USA. She was feature poet in the Poetry New Zealand Yearbook 2017, and is included in Best Small Fictions 2016. Her first poetry collection, Wolf, was published with Mākaro Press in 2017. In 2013 she won the New Voices – Emerging Poets Competition. She is completing an MLitt at the University of Glasgow, usually in her pajamas. She likes to write about broken things, and things with teeth. www.ekmorton.com