The Other Side of Now
marrying the most gentle boy in the village.
Hanging his clothes on a line
by the bend in the river’s back.
Watching his lamp light
weave back through wetlands
with a pot full of eels for you
and what’s his to come.
An Ancestor swelling
under a Muslin dress
bare feet still able
to run through the roots.
His mother’s hands wrapped gentle
around a warm mug swirling.
All of you there singing
in the kitchen while night
continues to fall
and fall and fall
until the birds sing you back in.
Swimming tired and full in
the soft currents
a river of you both bursting through
Wai kura swirling in tendrils
as he comes running
when your Karanga bursts through
between worlds turning.
His mother singing the world into her;
fresh lungs blooming with our breath.
Watching her run now
swift between the roots
she has been doing this for a thousand years.
The hunt now lit by two lamps
Puanga lighting ahead
to show you the children are coming
as they number more each year
until you have a whole constellation.
A clutch of eggs,
held gentle in an apron.
Little girl turning them gently
checking for feathers.
Watching her collect them herself now.
Hands soft and golden, fresh dirt under the nails.
Rouge lightly patted to the lips,
bare feet in the river,
a boy scarecrow suited
lilting to the door.
The house an empty shell
like broken plates nestled in the earth.
The gentlest boy in the village
as the gentlest Tūpuna
for your children who bring him back
with each new baby
called into the world.
one foot in the river
one on the other side
turning his hei tiki over and over
in the parchment of your palm.
And maybe this is the best thing you have done.
And maybe letting this stone gain your warmth
degree by degree
is the gentlest thing that you can offer him.
Maybe your hand turning a taonga
is how you turn the world.