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Sport 21: Spring 1998

Nick Ascroft — Bodies of Water & Rabbits

page 188

Nick Ascroft

Bodies of Water & Rabbits

I was oblivious, I thought myself invulnerable
Like the eyes of a weather satellite, greedily
Flitting across masses of land, zooming in,
Zooming out, every sight seemed tender.

Cows dozed, using evergreens as sunglasses.
Locals, who never locked their cars, looked on
As spring lambs rebounded off their limbs
Like bedsprings. Even the most worn grass

Cuddled rabbits, sick or dying, unable to stifle
The sympathy as viral strains blew through
The paddocks, catching on the gorse & thistles.
A commonwealth of broom pods collaborated

To play out the parable of the sower.
Some pods beamed seeds into the stratosphere,
Some sneezed theirs into & off fenceposts &
Tin sheds, others coolly snapped their fingers

& A palm of seeds were cannonballs to the horizon.
Lake Pukaki was the colour of cats' milk lapping
In its blue saucer. The waves palmed the shore
Like a halfhearted love affair at Tekapo—

At the control gates it took a woman aback,
Her car breathed in with a whistle, dreaming clearly,
It would have a crib here one day. The sea turned
The colour of mint down the East Coast.

page 189

But now where am I? The sun has been swallowed
& The seal's run out. Someone changed the signs
On the Pigroute, who? Is this still Moonlit Rd?
& Who's this woman beside me with rabbit's teeth?

There's a sound in the darkness beating like
A laugh or the tiny footfalls of a thousand
Ghostly feet. I was never as secure as I believed,
Never invisible & I was wrong not to notice

My goosy arms, my sleepy eyes.