Journal » Trout 16 » Kuia [Mariana Isara]
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Mariana Isara

I bring her kawakawa for their heart
shape, the way infused
they soothe this brokeness.
I bring her harakeke flowers
for their tūī nectar.
I sing to her in Te Reo.
I don’t know all the meanings
of the words, their deep
lineage, the bloodlines.
But she doesn’t mind because
I sing from the earth

When Nanny is cold she says
Get me a blanket moko.
So I pull the white cotton from
my bed and she wears it as a cloak
of Aoraki
lily leaves. She has the mana
of the womb woven into the fine
kete of her body. I do not know
her name, and she does not
know mine, so we call each other
Nanny and moko, for that
is who we are.

When I weep
she pats my face
dry with the lily leaves. Sits with
me and strokes my hand. Sleep
moko, sleep, she says.
We used to sleep with our moko.

In my dream a Kuia
Te Reo to me.
Seeing I don’t understand
she translates: A gift
often travels. When I wake up
Nanny is gone.

The phrase 'mana of the womb' is borrowed from Song of the Old Tides.


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