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These are Some of the Bodies I have Found



1. Mine Own


when you birthed me

you asked “whose child is this?”

your ear did not know the music of my waiting-to-be-plaited-hair

you could not see the centuries in my near-black eyes

you raised me as a warrior daughter

my limbs grounded by flat feet

protecting you


I remember first really knowing my body was mine

at swimming training when limbs burned

and toes touched true on somersault turn

chlorine did not take the brown from my skin

nor the acres of land I felt I took up



and three


with their chests and pace and fists

throwing themselves in to the air

finding shapes mine could not cast


now at nearly a half a century

I ask “whose body is this?”


are these flushes of fire a compass

guiding me to my next mapping

or are they flames of memory

my past my body

addiction pain loss grief

finally leaving my story


as I walk towards myself

my butt stretches up kissing my hips

which lap in to my back


my body

it never lies to me

I step inside

and make myself at home

2. Hokianga Harbour










how many taniwha

kauri logs & dolphins & ships

have you carried?


Koutu boulders

Tāne Mahuta’s shoulders


oh Wikipedia

              yeah, right


“Today the harbour, like the Reformation itself, stands between Protestant and Catholic.”


car ferry               to Kohukohu

your bar is crossed

flooded roads       to Panguru


waterlogged waka

time will tell



“It was this encroachment of British colonial laws over Māori autonomy that instigated

an armed protest, the response to which became known as the Dog Tax War.”


dark sky sanctuary


three lashed estuaries


your dunes hold me


my bones are yours


3. Wayne




1. find a notebook

2. go to a blank page in that notebook

3. tear that blank page out of that notebook

4. using your right hand scrunch that paper

5. using your right hand throw that paper to the ground

6. find a pen

7. using your left hand throw that pen in the direction of the paper

8. imagine the paper is a body and the pen is a needle




Finding Him


I arrived home after having been out with friends at the pub.  I shared a house with three people and guessed I was home alone because there were no lights on. Cold and quiet at 11.30pm. I made my way up to the lounge room and turned on the tv. I started to watch ‘Rage’. A couple of minutes later the electric alarm clock in Wayne’s room started to beep.  He worked night-shifts as a shelf-filler at Coles and would often sleep through the alarm so it wasn’t unusual that the alarm relentlessly beeped. Soon the telephone rang. It was his manager asking if he could speak to Wayne. I knocked on Wayne’s door which was slightly ajar, I pushed it open gently and saw him.

Written by Anne-Marie Te Whiu | Mentored by Jacqueline Carter

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