Flight into the Unknown (poem)


Flight into the Unknown
i.m. Gertrude Fisher

old ruru
standing guard

over our totara
it is ending -

fly through
the tall forest

to wherever
it leads...

as you finally

crying mokopuna
surround you

Joanne Fisher

Originally published in Catalyst 18

This is sort of a complete rewrite of an older poem. To anyone who isn’t a New Zealander/Aotearoan I may need to explain some words: Ruru (also known as a Morepork) is a native owl. Totara is a native tree that grows very tall. It has very dense wood, thick stringy bark, and needle-like leaves. Mokopuna is the Maori word for grandchildren. One of my favourite Maori words.

This is a poem about my grandmother who died a few years ago now. She collected owl figurines, and so I always saw her as an owl, though some in the family called her Mouse (which I didn’t)…

I’ve deliberately used some Maori symbolism here (though my grandmother was of Irish-German descent). Rurus in Maori mythology were seen as guardians with powers to protect and advise. The totara symbolises life and growth, and also social solidarity, though in this poem I’ve extended it to mean family.

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©️2022 Joanne Fisher

Whatever (flash fiction)


“So you’re home finally.” Sara noted as she caught Emma sneaking back into the house after midnight.

“Yes.” Emma confirmed.

“You’re not going to give one of your usual flippant responses then?”

“Flippant? I’m never flippant!” Emma responded adamantly.

“Yet you’re well known for it. We do need to talk about our relationship. It’s clearly not working between us anymore.” Sara told her. Emma rolled her eyes.

“Whatever.” she replied running up the stairs.

Joanne Fisher

Word count: 74

This was written with the prompt flippant provided by Sammi Cox’s Weekend Writing Prompt #266.

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©️2022 Joanne Fisher

Second Letter (poem)

Avalanche Falls, Arthur’s Pass National Park

Second Letter

you've been back
in this country a

year now & still I
wait to see you

all I have received
is a letter telling me

you did the St. James
again with some friends

you made overseas I 
remember when we did

that same track together
tramping through matagouri

thickets & cold swollen
streams where I kept losing

my footing but you were
always there ensuring I

didn't get swept away
tumbling down mountains

to the sea
I need that -

someone who is there
to catch me & grab hold

before I fall

Joanne Fisher

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©️2022 Joanne Fisher

Late Offering (poem)

Late Offering

there was nothing to say
we were lying in bed

together no longer able
to touch for fear of

opening wounds
the dark hiding us both

like wounded animals
I still loved you, or

thought I did & then
you began telling me

how you weren't interested
in coming around to see me

anymore & that you weren't
sure if you loved me, or

if you had ever loved me
casually inserting a sharp

blade through the gaps
in my ribs & so I began

playing all my Suzanne Vega
albums one by one

knowing how much
you hated her

Joanne Fisher

Originally published in Spin 42.

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©️2022 Joanne Fisher

No Entry (flash fiction)

No Entry

One day I came across a portal. Going through it I came into some far green country. I marveled at the beauty as I wandered across it, until I came to a wondrous city. As I stood there gazing at it, two Elven knights grabbed hold of me. I was taken to the Elven Queen. She was so radiantly beautiful I had to avert my gaze.

“Mortal, you have wandered in lands you were not meant to.” she said softly. I was led away to a dungeon. My stay there seemed brief as I was soon escourted back to the portal.

When I was back in my own world, everything seemed different. All my joints were stiff and I found it hard to move. There were horseless carriages going faster than I could believe and all the people walking around were fixated by rectangular tablets in their hands, ignoring all else. I didn’t understand. When I saw my reflection I saw long white hair and wrinkled skin. I decided to return to Faerie to restore my youth.

I went back to the place where I had found the portal, but it wasn’t there, just long grass and an old gate I had never seen before. The writing on it said: NO ENTRY.

Joanne Fisher

Word count: 212

This was written with the photo prompt provided by Crimson’s Creative Challenge #190. Oops went over the word limit…

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©️2022 Joanne Fisher

At the Mall (poem)

At the Mall

my niece is the the grand display
at the Westfield food court
delighting us all
with her furtive glances
and wide open grins

it's my birthday so
I'm being treated to lunch
and while we eat
my sister and I ponder
we are getting older

I tell her I thought 
by now
I would have found
a soul-mate
and now it's getting
too late

maudlin thoughts
on your birthday

my niece smiles and giggles
saying things in gibberish
that only Carmela can

she holds her tiny hand
outstretched to us

a mostly eaten cracker
with marmite on top

Joanne Fisher

This poem was originally published in Catalyst 1.

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©️2022 Joanne Fisher

Released (flash fiction)


Theo breathed the air outside the prison he had just been released from. The prison he had spent most of his life in, though he was free now. He had served countless years for a crime he did not commit and his exoneration and release had come late in his life. Could they give him back his old life he had lost? What was he meant to do with the little time that remained for him? And what did freedom even mean to him anymore? Wherever he went, the prison walls would still relentlessly follow him no matter what.

Joanne Fisher

Word count: 99

This was written with the prompt freedom provided by the Carrot Ranch June 20 Story Challenge.

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©️2022 Joanne Fisher

The Trail (flash fiction/repost)

The Trail

Susie had told everyone she was going on a hike for a few days, but in reality she was getting an abortion. Not long ago ago she had been raped, and if that wasn’t traumatic enough, she found out later she was carrying the rapist’s child. The laws of the state she lived in were very clear about this: she was expected to carry the child to full-term and the rapist would even have a say over the child’s future, including having visitation rights.

When Susie discovered she was pregnant, she told no one. This wasn’t because she didn’t want anyone to know: in fact she desperately needed to talk about it with her parents and some of her friends, but to let them know of the pregnancy would mean they too would be implicated, and she couldn’t do that to them. If it was discovered she had had an abortion she could be executed, and her friends and family that knew about it would also be facing prison time. She couldn’t go to another State to have the abortion done there as she would be arrested the minute she returned home. So she decided to tell no one of the pregnancy, or her decision to have an abortion. She felt she had been left with no other choice, but to take care of it herself.

She went into the country and down a long path where she knew an old woman lived who would help her. She didn’t know how safe it would be, and she was terrified and alone. She truly hoped everything would be okay.

Joanne Fisher

I wrote this a couple of years ago on my blog. I thought it needed a timely repost.

As far as I am aware the United States is not a Theocracy, but the Supreme Court is sure behaving like it is. I don’t usually try to be that political on my blog-site, as this is a creative space for me, and I’m also aware that many who follow me probably don’t necessarily share the same political opinions that I do and thus I run the risk of alienating them if I do get too political, which is why I prefer to be more subtle about it… I don’t live in the United States, but I do keep an eye on what’s happening there, and I’m rather disgusted with this decision made by the Supreme Court. The thing is if you ban abortions, all you are doing is banning safe abortions. Abortions will still happen, but it will cost lives. Also what happens politically in the United States can sometimes influence what happens in other countries as well.

I also see the Supreme Court has same-sex marriage and contraception in it’s sights next. I also really fear my LGBTQ sisters and brothers there and what the Supreme Court may have planned for them in the future. Like Susie I truly hope everything will be okay eventually.

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©️2022 Joanne Fisher

The Fall (poem)

Image source: International Committee of the Red Cross

The Fall

saw a dead man today
walking past his vacant body
men & school-kids clustered
trying to revive him like
some new Lazarus
I went home to listen
to the new CD I bought
but I think of this man
& lifeless bodies lying
on pavements
as you might imagine them
in Gaza or Hudaydah or Aleppo
though this one was solitary
perhaps his day was like 
any other -
walking to the safety & security 
of home like I was
like we all do
but never got there
his strong body suddenly
his life shattering
like glass

Joanne Fisher

Originally published in JAAM 19.

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©️2022 Joanne Fisher