I was born beneath the colonial shadow
of Maungakiekie’s solitary pine
within cooee of a sacred Rongo stone
in a military hospital built for casualties
of America’s bloody Pacific Campaign
was immediately hoisted by the ankles
and smacked to incite my first breath
a squall of amniotic fluid and fright
my mother called my name
my crinkled fingers sought her voice
but she was hoisted through birth stirrups
trembling from the shock of delivery
defrocked, immobilised and totally spent
a uniformed interloper swooped me up
measured and recorded vital statistics
admonished me for crying up a storm
and that’s how I was duly welcomed
into the merciless world of light
Maungakiekie (Maori) A mountain that was formerly a pa (fortified village) site.
Also known as One Tree Hill. Rongo (Maori) God of peace and cultivated food, especially the kumara.
Pacific Campaign WWII – American war effort in the Pacifc region.
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