(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without knowing it was almost a week out of date.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.
Notes on the Creation of the World
1 August 2015