Writing in Whangarei

With Those Faces

with those faces looking up

what they see is you

what you see here

is the ragged edge of you

it is not just blood spilled by birth

or bones in dunes with snails

taro patches or shell heaps with kahawai

terraces or pits or pa or death explaining itself with teeth

it is the ragged edge of you

it is a landscape of margins

tensions between histories born into blood

the versions and those who tell them

it is the sightline walkline fencelines

between puriri strainers and battens

headlands firing te manutukutuku

and raupo groves flexing to calls of bittern

it is those eyes on Tohumoana

catching cetaceans spuming pods with calves

and blubbers melting in fumes

in those faces are you

ringcounting the rimu kauri and matai that fell

across cadastral lines

dividing and subdividing in pounds and signatures

in the you of those faces

are cattle sheep plunging down gullies

behind dogs barking to echoing whistles

and families in that house

deciding when to sell when to buy when to cut hay

fix the gate shear drench eat scones or go fishing

in your face that is air wet

saturated in temperatures of spring

it is that solitary ti kouka

the vanished kahikatea

which flax

aching for profligate company

and throats on wings

in the faces you are

it is epiphyte laden puriri and pohutukawa

arks watching flightless insects

fall into hot dung on gravel deltas

in a face of yours

are streams exchanging kokopu

with kotare elvers with heron

and nymphomanic nymphs

in faces of you

are rata wire lineages

from telecom outstations to transmittered teal

and mirages of futures finding pasts

your faces can see you

its ragged edge


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