After image

By | 15 February 2023

for K.S.

did I ever tell you, that a sense of history is ingested like dust, feverishly? or that the memory of a poem is no longer the same poem? we’ve long held this pause in text, but where language bears its marks there’s debt. the words made flesh. each debt recalls the others, it’s always been like this. first, the cold skin of a horizon cut open by Kā Tiritiri o te Moana, reluctantly, like an unripe fruit. I remember how lucie brock broido’s overtones came rustling out from under the car stereo, only to evaporate in that morning’s gloaming. it was a sound too hallowed for this world, that dulcet crackle, it was the sound of listening & yearning. it was the sound of metal railings rattling along the endless stretch between Rawene and Kohukohu. you were searching for something, in that place without instruments for time. look, you said, see how the ground cracks open at the touch of roadside flowers? the rose turns to me in extremis, then memoriam. I try to describe this loss with only the objects at hand: sunset, trees, telephone wires, an oil drum. a horizon is both the opening and the limit that defines a period of waiting. a horizon is that lost boat my father found straying along the canal, it’s the light that bursts across Aotea square like two hands drawn together by their years intervening. I know this much, it’s possible to be in two places at once. in your country, a woman has unleashed a great swarm of bees on the police, as if she were brandishing existence. this small and defiant act gives me pause. it took me several years to ask, what happens when the letter supplants everything? the reply, that this is the truth of a life.


Hak Kyung Cha, Theresa, Dictee, Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 2022, 18.

Derrida, Jacques, ‘Force of Law: The “Mythical Foundation of Authority,”’ in Cornell, Drucilla, Rosenfeld, Michel and Carlson, David, Deconstruction and the Possibility of Justice, New York: Routledge, 1992, 26.


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