Waiuta on the Coast
Waiuta on the coast had bottles of golden
nuggets and a mother with a missing leg. Ink jars
spilled in school while leather lay rigid against the wall.
She took her shoes off in the woods and went bare.
Stole bottles from the shop and sold them back
for a shilling. She set the bed on fire with a lamp,
drunk on apple cider. An aeroplane landed in the field
but she wouldn’t go up in that rust bucket.
So she flew away on two feet
to the steeple city and the TAB.
She took a name that wasn’t hers to take
and loved a man until heart break,
and arm break.
Her son rode him like a horse, whipping an invisible crop.
She strode to the shops, made bread and butter pudding,
dyed her hair black and became a widow.
She walked and kept company with daytime TV.
Bought a drum in Fiji and opals in Australia.
She went to senior’s lunch at the casino,
wrapping half in a napkin for dinner
and she told her grandchildren
about Waiuta on the coast.
with solid gold
(which sounds like Titanic).
The girl brought home a book
called ‘Ballet Shoes’ with
a faded cover
and heavy font.
But the picture on the front
made her mother smile
as she turned the book over in her
hands and fanned
the pages like a
They sat together and opened
to the beginning.
The words were clumsy,
long and heavy
They read on
but the childs eyes were
drawn to the dog chewing
the table leg
and the mother wondered
what should go in tomorrow’s
lunch boxes, but she read on.
Uncle Gum had found fossils
and an orphaned baby.
He travelled to Nepal while
Nana kept the house on Cromwell Road.
The page ended at a picture.
The mother suggested reading some more
tomorrow, and the child melted off
and slid under the table.
The woman closed the cover
and looked again at the image
of laces and legwarmers.
She could nearly hear her
over the dishwasher.
Put your hand up her arse and
Make her lips move.
Say the words in a high pitched voice,
So no one will guess
She isn’t real.
Practice in front of the mirror
So there is no movement
In your face.
Nothing to show the effort
It takes to make the performance
When the audience is gone, slide
Your fingers out of the slack fabric
And put her in a box
Lined with satin.
And the hibiscus flowers
hot and heady,
and the air is thick,
And my skin
slicks in the sun,
and the roundness of the bees
touches the daisies,
And the air holds its
and the blueness
of the sky bleaches the word,
and the brightness hurts my eyes.
Biography Katrina Larsen
I am a mother, a teacher and a writer. I have always written and find that often words make much more sense on paper than in my head. I discovered poetry through Stevie Smith in my teens and continue to be inspired by what the poets know.