Victoria Broome

Victoria Broome is a social worker and mental health counsellor with Pegasus Health.  She has been published in various NZ journals and anthologies and in 2 books with the Poetry Chooks; The Chook Book and Flap. She was awarded the Louis Johnson Bursary in 2005 from Creative NZ, was second equal in the Kathleen Grattan Award in 2010,  a past editor of Takahe magazine and was an inaugural Hagley Writers’ Institute student in 2008 and 2009.

Talking (a love poem)

Victoria Broome 2014

My great nephew phoned Estonia
when he could barely crawl.

We decided he had a girlfriend
we knew nothing about.

Those late nights when he was crying
he must have been aching for her voice.
Across all those miles
how did he sound to her?

Mellifluous and rich, a pour of warm milk
across a dark, dark sky?

Or deep and gurgling, as if he spoke
through great miles of ocean,
bubbles of his love drifting towards
her mysterious surface?

How did she receive him?

He meant no harm, driven by the urgency
of his growing heart, to tell her everything
he so far knew, his wide dark eyes
roamed the universe as he spoke.

Sight and sound flew through him,
unshaped.

I think she woke
to a summer deciphering static.

It followed her lovesick, dumbstruck
getting lost in the branches of trees, in the
wind that filled them, in the humid air.
in the stars above.

The Bombardment

Victoria Broome 2014

She didn’t mean to bombard him with poems, he must have imagined her as an enemy plane, a low drone in the night disrupting his sleeping, surreptitiously dropping propaganda at his door.

Writing often fell from her when she least expected it, she might be walking to the letterbox and a poem would float from her wrist, a white feather, she might sense relief, she might feel exalted, it didn’t seem up to her.

She might be sitting in her office at work involved with a patient’s emotional complication and an epistolary moment would escape from the keyboard, she would flick away the pain, a repetitive strain.

She might be at home sitting in the deepening dusk listening to music and a sheet of words would materialise in the space in front of her, she would write it down
and take it to heart.

The poems pulled up from the deep, having moved through tons of pressure to get here. Breached, as a whale does, with a great exhalation.

What were they, literary bombs of feelings, explosive explanations ? She hadn’t thought, before she sent them, how it might feel to be on the receiving end.

Ferry Road

Victoria Broome 2013

Mum it’s nearly spring,
on Ferry Road in Woolston
the blossoms are beginning,
on the streets near me magnolia
stellata has burst open.

I imagine you might be
a young child again tonight,
there is a slip of a new moon
for you to skip over, and there
is your father’s Four Square shop

on Ferry Road all these years later;
he is gone and your mother and
brother and the cathedral and
the convent of the nuns of the
Community of the Sacred Name.

The Four Square shop remains
and the house on Barrington Street
and St Nicholas church where
you were to be married in 1954 and
from where you will leave for the last time.

Like the iconic painting
of the Four Square man with his wide smile
we let the past come and go, it’s cartoon
promise, its nostalgia, when life was clearly
black and white and everything would be alright.

Blackboy Peaches

Victoria Broome 2013

Come at the end of summer,
no one really knows their story,
although peaches did originate from China.
In her childhood my mother’s mother
stewed them until dark, dark crimson
they bled into the white tapioca on the plate.

I have come to love them in their furry,
mauve grey skin and watch them as they ripen
on the tree. They grow in France;
or did several centuries ago, the Peche de Vigne,
grown among the grapes to indicate disease.
That is a preferable name; the vineyard peach.

The fruit of warning, heart red flesh,
the sweetness beneath the difficult skin,
the one worth waiting for, the one that comes
as daylight saving ends, the one that comes
around the same time as the resurrection.
The one, like a shadow in the garden,
that Mary calls to and finds; it is her son.