Gregory O'Brien

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Whangarei head, 1981

as I am,
fired and forged
or freshly
formed —
a lost cat
lingers, her head
an outcrop or
a brick
almost or
paving stone. Once
I had a cat
the shape
of Northland —
rough-cast, thrown,
a reminder that the outer edge
of anything is all
we ever see.
Face adrift
above its mineral
body, or supping from
an earthen bowl
in kiln-light
its sideways
glance became
a scarred, inconsolable
face, and its face
an imprint
of foot
or paw. Together
we sought the company
of smoke-like things,
of rust
and rustling,
Yvonne of the well-
calibrated furnace, her
fired-up world
from which
arose this
circus of
hollowed eyes, music
of fingerprinted ears —
this allotment
of earth
and the one
perfect afternoon of a
lamentable year
given us.

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