I breath in your spring musk
from amethyst bracelets, clockwise
branches, a trunk thick with age.
Your bursts of purple spread their surprise
through the garden: your winding twine
finds places I've yet to discover.
January, I bathe you in hen-house straw
April, I pick your green shooting stars,
roast for ten, take them soft to my lips.
Men who called my Dad Jack
If our phone rang after six it was always the Works for Dad,
if it rang before seven I could go with him, she’ll stay in the car,
he’d yell, slamming the door on Mum’s worry bead phrase:
John, whatever you do, don’t let her get in the way.
I never stayed in the car, I went where the heat of the kiln
reached my face, waiting until my skin stretched to a crackle,
my eyes grew gritty, my lips were cooked before retreating
to where the grindy groan of metal on metal was a lullaby.
I squatted under the Office stairs out of the way of the footprints
made by hard hatted men in unlaced boots with hands and faces
like Mr and Mrs Baker’s in Happy Families, men who’d lived
in the village all their lives, had local wives, Cement Company
men who’d took Dad’s instructions and showed him the rocks
where Paua clung, the beaches where Flounder could be caught
with a nail and stick, lent him nets so we had our portions of whitebait
at Company picnics we shared with them and their Kiwi families.
A poem in which I think of things that have woken me up
your last breath