In Whiskey Gully

By | 31 July 2012

Miromiro speaks

he sounds her out
scoutishly—a collector

          Do    you    speak  Tomtit?

an unremembered house
shingled—crisscrossing green
          it could rain and take a year
for the forest
to sup to its roots

from the flat ramble
up whiskey-reeling paths
Miromiro circles

she does not speak
          his darting lingo
she speaks green
catbird, a little curlew

her blood claims
to know this gully’s oxygen
and quickens to it

homely predators
her feet and pulse

across streams
clinging to walls
like a gecko
dirt under nails

a bannister of nettles
guides hands
to oil-capped mushrooms
neighbourly dock leaves

stretched below
the clear river
wouldn’t mind
lapping at sinew
cavorting with bones

still Miromiro follows
an omen in her chest
sets minute talons
in throbbing muscle

she is flightless—below
everything is sharp and bright

a final incantation
of undoing

she is alone

but for Miromiro

who watches as she sobs
relief over the nettles

purging a body sunk
with listless crowded terrors

she is finally alone

the forest keeps on
plants arch spines for late sun
and nettles drink a little salt

stops asking questions

but nods and fixes himself
more firmly
slows her blood
to a stream’s unhurried pace

and down through the gully
she remembers


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