all our directions home
the taonga are placed on the sand.
taiaha stand quivering in the wind
speaking to the rōpū of sand-diggers,
fire-lighters, early morning risers.
the people of this place mix easily
with us manuhiri, come to watch.
the greenstone mere smashes
the seashell in half: a clean break
between where we’ve come from
& where we are now, understood.
we talk on the wind—impatience,
the ragged wave, sinks into the sand.
we listen to a story of sea birds,
how in the evening, their bellies full
they’ll spiral upwards on the wind.
when high enough, the leading birds
cry out & begin to fly straight
in the direction of their island home.
the birds on the sea, watching this,
lift off & follow
you who first rise up on the wind
to see which way for us, we promise
to follow. call out loud from above
& we in our numbers will fly!
the tide turns, we gather the taonga,
put them in the boot of the car
& drive to the whare, where we eat
together quietly—before one-by-one
we rise to the heights & speak
of all our directions home.
Published in 'a fine line', magazine of the NZ Poetry Society, May 2014