Sidereal Time

1 February 2016

I get onboard folded land in reference to nowhere
Towns down down to the bottom of all places.
The interglacial period finally terminates; the news comes
Over. Ice ripples like slowmotion—oars carving water—
until the Marlborough Sounds freeze over:
Wet hair, or milky healing in great scars.
Quickly the constellations are unrecognisable
Forests when every footstep is an evolutionary leap.
Every day we need a leap second to keep hold : now
Many hundreds of kilometres North—on the stones
Of Hokianga, which means you have been there
Before in a harbour earth oven
—the supernova of Betelgeuse flies
Broad daylight . . . And Phobos strays too close
To Mars’ gravity, mincing to Saturnine rings.
Only one feastday, the full orbit of galactic centre
Celebrated in those Saturnian days when Pangea reformed
Mountain oceans. I flicker down to the Southern Fjords
Where there is no more of this land,
When exhausted land continues to fold on. Last last
Last solar eclipse passes over sunbeds in Coromandel;
Breakoff any chance left for plate tectonics, and
“tables d’hôte” are set to the end of photosynthesis,
As police raid immigrant multicellular life from apartments
At dawn. Old volcano Maungawhau was a gable before
Any city unfurled on its blitzed shoulders.
At summit I skip stones to the magnetic field
Sailing out of the Waitemata, shelling ozone . . . plough of Sun’s
Habitable zone sweeps like suburban sprawl across,
Away. Poles wander Mercurial, and thoughts begin to smoke
As the world puts itself at Venusian ease.
But I’m let down as our galaxy fuses with Andromeda,
As if nothing has changed; as if New Zealand is still
The first to be seared by each calendar dawn.
Still first in line for great gaps in the ground.

Dad was born in a basin in Whangarei and I loved
The town sundial and the magnitude of seconds means
There’s no need, let alone way, to divide the hours.
I visit the house my parents sold, and I know the Moon
& Earth might be tidelocked—turning only
the same swollen face to one another—but right now
There are other people inside doing things.
Marsden Ave turns ninety-degrees to become Dominion Rd
With frequency the same as amplitude so we don’t
Have to do twice the work. At some unobserved early hour
The streetlamps begin to extinguish alongside the end
Of starbirth, and we slip into the Sun in transparent dark
When my neighbour Anne leans over the fence to ask
If there are still vespers. As if I had known that
Our last night at home would be
At low tide with black holes
The last objects in the cosmos. On this timescale all
Matter is instantaneous liquid, so even before I can nod home
The rivulet of atoms—the last panning iron—turns off
From a mountain source.
My parents are goodnatured enough. They wouldn’t notice
The eternal absorb just one more infinite; “the world” &
“the Earth” slipping around on different frozen lakes.
Now there is nothing it references all places.

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