Tuesday Poem: ‘In the corner of my mind, a boy’ by Frankie McMillan

In the corner of my mind, a boy

This morning watching people in the street
I remembered the book I’d forgotten to write –

The Boy Who Lived In a Wardrobe
which I promptly changed to

The Boy in the Wardrobe: this meant
it could be flash fiction as living implies

a day’s activities which in the case of the boy
would normally be kicking a ball

around the overgrown tennis court, or finding
a lost bird in the hedge;

then there is the business of eating, licking fingers
washing and scrubbed knees all of which

are impractical in the dim wardrobe smelling
of furs and the indecision of shoes

and though I can present the child however
I wish a chance encounter might be best

say, a glimpse through a key hole
to where a small boy sits

playing with his fingers in what would be
my parent’s wardrobe, the cotton dresses

falling on his shoulders
my father’s trousers a stack of chimneys;

which brings me back to the parade of people:
how they walk towards deeds

they never knew they had within them

copyright Frankie McMillan. Posted with permission from the poet.

Very excited to share a poem by Frankie McMillan this week. The poem  is classic McMillan, to me, and exemplifies her way of making a very small thing into something quite special.  In addition to being an award-winning poet, Frankie just landed a huge win a week ago with her two placements in the 2015 National Flash Fiction Day competition, judged this year by Owen Marshall and Fiona Kidman. She won the top award with her story ‘A House on Riselaw Street’, and she also placed third with another of her stories, ‘A Field Guide for Lost Girls’.  Second place went to Leanne Radojkovich of Auckland — I’ll be sure to share some of Leanne’s exceptional work soon, too.

The winning stories from the 2015 NFFD competition are listed at the NFFD site and will be published in a special forthcoming issue of Flash Frontier: An Adventure in Short Fiction.

Read a recent interview/ feature story about Frankie McMillan here.

Meanwhile, Frankie’s flash can also be found, along with James Norcliffe’s and that of others from around the world, in Flash Fiction International, just released in NZ on June 22 and available here. An excellent review of this collection can be read here.

Congratulations, Frankie, on all your recent accomplishments, and thank you for sharing!


FFI book launchFrankie McMillan (pictured right, with James Norcliffe and holding copies of Flash Fiction International, released in NZ on June 22 and available here) lives in Christchurch and teaches at the Hagley Writers’ Institute. Her most recent collection of poetry is There Are No Horses in Heaven (Canterbury University Press, 2015). Her short story collection The Bag Lady’s Picnic and other stories was published by Shoal Bay Press. In 2008 and 2009 her work was selected for Best NZ Fiction anthologies. Many of her stories have also been broadcast on radio. Dressing for the Cannibals, a poetry collection, was published in 2009 and in that same year she won the NZ Poetry Society International competition. Recent poetry appears in Turbine, JAAM, Trout, Snorkel, Sport, The London Grip, Shenandoah and Best New Zealand Poems, 2012. Her flash is also in Flash Fiction International (W.W. Norton, 2015). She won the 2013 National Flash Fiction Day competition, and, with Mary McCallum, she judged the 2014 NFFD competition.



Tuesday Poem is a collective of poets who share poetry on a weekly basis across borders and time zones. Please check out the other poets and the main poem at the TP hub this week, Papatoetoe Poems by Tony Beyer, brought to us by Hub Editor Keith Westwater.

Tuesday Poem For more Tuesday Poems, go here.


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3 Responses to Tuesday Poem: ‘In the corner of my mind, a boy’ by Frankie McMillan

  1. harveymolloy says:

    I like the way the poem follows a thought flow and then there are these great touches e.g. ‘the indecision of shoes’ and the wardrobe really is just our own head where I often go to watch and hide from the world. Thanks for sharing this one–i love it.

  2. ajponder says:

    excellent poem, very cute – as you say it’s all the subtle small touches that make it, “a glimpse through a key hole” at said boy. 🙂 Thanks for sharing, and being so supportive of the writing community.

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