Across continents and seas,
past skies stinking with gunfire –
where blue clears over snow peaks
and wild lupins start to spire,
a kiwi sleeps in his burrow.
Awake, his long beak taps
its way in the dark, plunges
to the hilt for wriggling prey.
Territory wars are not for him.
Shrill boundary cries deter
Claws are kept to defend –
to fight extinction.
No rain for us since the end of June.
A heron neck-zags across the estuary
to stand like a living statue.
A lapwing quicksteps – in starts –
over mud and kelp, hardly pausing
to pick and dip in shallow pools
traced with waste
and the late-summer sun.
It’s 26 degrees at midnight here.
Only darkness covers me
and that’s too heavy. I dream
in a house of silenced taps
where spiders sleep.
Dead for forty-six years,
my father is walking on a battlefield,
a desert that was our planet, his arms
wide open under a bird-less, stubborn sky,
as the sun rises before I’m ready.
This is a journey he didn’t want
to make, a preternatural effort,
to tell me it’s time
each other’s messages.