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In the mean time

Dear Raurimu,
               tonight my boy will spoil
the space that’s yours;
               I’ll help him kick the night
down without you—
               it is a flimsy door.
You must hurry.
               Alcohol cannot help
those ambitious
               shadows we know by name
during the day—
               the elegant temptress
you pass for; worse,
               the naïf I become
to compensate.
               I won’t take advantage.
There are plenty
               who believe in smooth skin
and harsh kisses
               but I love the wrinkles
in your armpits,
               the softness of your breath
on my boy’s cheek.

August 1988, Church Square, Christchurch.
Tuhoe prophet Rua Kenana addresses Raurimu,
his twelfth (and favourite) wife, who bore him a son.

 


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