Journal » Trout 17 » Manaia [Bernadette Hall]
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Bernadette Hall

how she climbs the ladder constantly with pruning shears
and falls into the arms of the trees       so tears
arise in the soft fabric of her skin       they crust and darken
they clench their teeth       and the marvellous body heals     

lying face down on the operating table       her legs clamped
apart       the sheet has slipped a bit  and the nurse pulls it up       
see, there’s the rose tear       (the Virgin in a halo of lights
beyond the window)       ((the night fills up with it))
her legs parted like that with metal clamps       the bruising that arises 

the old skin blows out       it may not be strong enough
to hold the story       the little teeth of the tattooist’s instrument
nip and bite       soon there’s a trench       she lays
her children down in it       she lays her husband down in it   
she lays her sisters down in it       and her mother
who has died and her father who has died and her brother
she lays the estuary down in it       and two black swans
she lays an  Irish brooch down in it       and a Ngai Tahu manaia


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