When the waves crash at Bethells beach
you can baptise an entire suburb.
Over the small hill to O’Neils beach
a child heads back to where we began.
White dogs snap at our feet,
run back towards young gods at sea,
who threaten to return.
The sun disappears
when you lean in
and tap out my name
across my mouth.
From your chest you take out an avocado,
feta, french bread and a tomato and you say:
Best way into a woman’s heart,
give her a feed.
You can tell a lot about a woman,
the way she eats.
If she’s hungry for life
or too scared
to take a bite.
You’re not scared of anything,
island of man
We circle the mall looking back at history
laughing and crying over dead heroes.
Each lap starts in Samoa
and ends in Japan
salivating over roe.
My 80-year-old aunt pulls in to
the fishmonger’s smile.
He waves his arms like a magician
over creatures from the sea.
She remembers a husband last seen 16 years before
in a taxi, at church, watching TV.
You’re lucky, these palagi men will hang out laundry,
load a dishwasher, massage your feet.
But they don’t understand putting money in a card,
or having the family on the doorstep
without even a phone call.
So we’re even aren’t we?
Retailers haul dull catches
from the sea of shops.
Drag sleeping workers
to the centre,
and like the salmon on our plates,
are beaten with the blunt end of words.
A train travels south for a reply.
The eyes of a fish look out from a boy
swimming back to the counter,
while a silverbeet woman wipes blood from her hands.
It’s hard to digest a public execution.
On the way home my aunt says
I never liked salmon but after Michael died
your mum would to bring it for me,
I would say no, I’m not hungry.
She would sit until I ate. Now I love it,
but she’s not here anymore.
She wipes tears from the corners of her eyes,
straightens up and finishes;
that salmon today, it was so fresh, like it was
caught this morning.