Marisa is the winner of the 2011 Hagley Writers’ Institute Margaret Mahy prize. She has published poetry in Crest to Crest Anthology of Canterbury Poets, Takahē, The Press, InterlitQ, Enamel, Shot Glass Journal, Voiceprints 3, Snorkel, Blackmail Press, Turbine. She has been a guest reader for the CPC and Beat St. She is on the boards of the Takahe Collective and the Canterbury Poets Collective. She is enrolled for year two at The Hagley Writers Institute for 2012.
I’m the shadow of a running dog,
sun struck tar.
My sister is ancient glacier ice,
the inner membrane of an egg.
We share the same blood, side by side
radiosensitive at the interface.
We twitch in separate hemispheres.
We twitch at the same time.
Owe our appearance to a one
in a million combination of genes.
The startling result of friction, of conflict
an example of how to distil a solution.
“Those aren’t roses blooming from the mouths of the canons”, said his mother.
He flees to New York and builds a house like a bunker.
“Forte calcestuzzo!”, says his granddaughter
His hat blows off at the feet of the suffragettes.
He can’t translate the denouncement
of the Mormon prophet on the museum wall.
He wraps the Titanic around himself
against chilly autumn rain.
He gilds the railway tracks to Buffalo
and collects the NY Highlanders
He keeps them in a tobacco tin.
My Father Sews His Way to Me
My father surveys the fissure and measures
the steam and heat that rise from the torn earth.
He plants a device of silver birch along the edge
between us. Tendrils of quakes tremble the roots
and his heart. He tries to sew the ground between us,
a painstaking process for a man with no needle work skills.
He chain stitches trees together, sealing the lips of the ruptured land.
I feel his distress in the small puncture wounds made by his needle.
My grandfather’s throat
is a squeeze box
with ivory buttons
either side of his neck.
I feel his raspy tone
on the top of my head
and soles of my feet
but recall no words.
The fat boy doll
he bought for me in Italy
is still in my cupboard
its brown eyes peeling.
My grandfather never
speaks with his eyes
they are smudges
on my chalk board,
his silence broken
only by the wheeze
as he squeezes air
in and out of his stoma.
My ephemeral grandfather
stands on a street corner
and plays his throat
like an extra in a movie.