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The art of separation
1

Say
you went to ground, say

your knees were scuffed, say
your wisdom teeth

split when your jaw
tightened with humiliation. Say you

crawled indoors and stayed
there, refusing to answer

either the neighbour’s call
or your mother’s letters.

At her breast you learnt
the art of

separation –
that is why you bite

air.

2

You needed to see
inside the egg:

its secret became an explanation
greying your eyes. Since when

you’re studiedly
uncertain: one earring

twirls clockwise, the other
counter-clockwise.

Only your fragile voice
compels: how it flutters

near the subject
without picking it up.

3

Horizon of eyes
don’t oversee me;

words hold
back those predators.

Heart be more than
fissure; artery

carry the light.

4

Wordless
water: where? Every ‘where’

epitaph, the only available
radiance is the shimmer of nothing

certain. Memory’s ember
an expected star

the word ‘forever’ is covered
in hoar-frost. Honour it

with the stone in your throat:
He aha i waiho ai te manuhiri kia karanga ana?

5

If the dead could deliver a lecture
it would be well attended. Finish

knowing.

26.7.1992, Cathedral Square – 6.4.1993, Ely Street, Christchurch
He aha…‘ Why did you leave the guest to keep on calling?’

 


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