Insight came crawling on a crystal edge. Aromas
of Drum and malt hiding in the curtains. I’d slap him
across his unshaven self, jokingly at first, or finish
his drink, his smoke, his vices for him.
The ute was left wrapped
around the pine where the icy road retrieved us.
We soon found that lying became a full-time
occupation, cunningly assuming
a life of its own. Already we were drowning, she
and I both knew. Mindful of our fall from innocence
I refrained from having cake, did the dishes, walked
the thin white line of angels. Later we’d thaw
our souls on blue cups of milky tea, ignoring
the absence of tanned hands, the ghost
of their weight momentarily resting
on a bare shoulder, a thigh, cupping a heel and a sole.
What now? Work-life imbalance? Aerobics? AA?
Collages consume lots of glue and photos. And does love
disappear because we despair? Later we found
that work could obscure time, perhaps even rewind it,
if we tried really hard. Do you remember anything?
she’d ask, searching for me in empty sockets.
Nothing, I’d reply and we both knew it was a poor lie.
What next? Road rage? Lesbian love? Standing waist high
in water you’ve got little choice but to get out.
I didn’t mean to… I’d begin. I know, she’d interrupt
lighting up another fag, grey fog sheltering us
from passers-by, just like the night
you learned to fly among the small faces
of Matariki. Pohutakawa needles bleed
the pavement red, the ocean lies
despicably pristine beyond man-made sands.
I begrudge the seagulls their blithe
specks of snow against brooding sky.
In my mind I go for a drive: the same road
the same curb, the blur of a sign – too quick
for the eye. Then the light from above. The cliff’s
edge to our left, carried by echoes
from below. To the right the straight-backed pines
lined up like the soldiers we used to play with.