(for Visesio Siasau)
On the first night of creation
Hikule’o turned the sea upside down
and shook it out, the way an old lady shakes out her purse
for a bus driver.
The sun fell out of the sea
like small change.
On the first day of creation
Hikule’o drew squares and triangles
with her unstumped hand.
When she was finished
her characters looked at each other,
shrugged shoulders, cracked knuckles,
and shook their almost-perfect forms
into kinks and bulges and blurs.
They walked away, into the world.
On the edge of a clearing
a man and a woman coupled,
doubling their imperfections,
becoming one beast.
The goddess’ harelip moistened with joy.
On the second day
Hikule’o gave the world a will of its own.
Tides muscled the channel
to Fanga’uta lagoon. The whip and the fly-whisk
On the third day the goddess felt suddenly alone
as she walked between plantations.
She turned, and saw her shadow flee
across a field, then disappear into a hedge
where hibiscus eyes waited.
On the fourth day
Hikule’o began her diary.
Her pen worked like a spade,
tunnelling forwards in time
to sons and usurpers.
She read a page aloud
to the future, and mistook the silence
On the fifth day
Bishop Berkeley stood in ‘Atenisi’s seminar room
and denied the existence of space and time.
Hikule’o dropped him down a well
one of Maui’s heels had made.
The bishop fell like a lucky coin.
On the sixth day Hikule’o walked through Nuku’alofa
and took a table at Escape Cafe.
Lo’au read the New Zealand Herald aloud to her,
without knowing it was almost a week out of date.
Hikule’o yawned, and dropped the morning moon
into her teacup, then yawned again, and watched the moon dissolve
like a lump of sugar.
Lo’au: Tongan culture-hero who taught navigation and sailed to the end of the world.
‘Atenisi: independent school in Tonga associated with free thought and the pro-democracy movement.
- 96: NO THEME IXSUBMIT NOW with M Gill and J Thayil 95: EARTHwith M Takolander 94: BAYTwith Z Hashem Beck 93: PEACHwith L Van, G Mouratidis, L Toong 92: NO THEME VIIIwith C Gaskin 91: MONSTERwith N Curnow 90: AFRO AUSTRALIANwith S Umar 89: DOMESTICwith N Harkin 88: TRANSQUEERwith S Barnes and Q Eades 87: DIFFICULTwith O Schwartz & H Isemonger 86: NO THEME VIIwith L Gorton 85: PHILIPPINESwith Mookie L and S Lua 84: SUBURBIAwith L Brown and N O'Reilly 83: MATHEMATICSwith F Hile 82: LANDwith J Stuart and J Gibian 81: NEW CARIBBEANwith V Lucien 80: NO THEME VIwith J Beveridge 57.1: EKPHRASTICwith C Atherton and P Hetherington 57: CONFESSIONwith K Glastonbury 56: EXPLODE with D Disney 55.1: DALIT / INDIGENOUSwith M Chakraborty and K MacCarter 55: FUTURE MACHINES with Bella Li 54: NO THEME V with F Wright and O Sakr 53.0: THE END with P Brown 52.0: TOIL with C Jenkins 51.1: UMAMI with L Davies and Lifted Brow 51.0: TRANSTASMAN with B Cassidy 50.0: NO THEME IV with J Tranter 49.1: A BRITISH / IRISH with M Hall and S Seita 49.0: OBSOLETE with T Ryan 48.1: CANADA with K MacCarter and S Rhodes 48.0: CONSTRAINT with C Wakeling 47.0: COLLABORATION with L Armand and H Lambert 46.1: MELBOURNE with M Farrell 46.0: NO THEME III with F Plunkett 45.0: SILENCE with J Owen 44.0: GONDWANALAND with D Motion 43.1: PUMPKIN with K MacCarter 43.0: MASQUE with A Vickery 42.0: NO THEME II with G Ryan 41.1: RATBAGGERY with D Hose 41.0: TRANSPACIFIC with J Rowe and M Nardone 40.1: INDONESIA with K MacCarter 40.0: INTERLOCUTOR with L Hart 39.1: GIBBERBIRD with S Gory 39.0: JACKPOT! with S Wagan Watson 38.0: SYDNEY with A Lorange 37.1: NEBRASKA with S Whalen 37.0: NO THEME! with A Wearne 36.0: ELECTRONICA with J Jones