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Sport 36: Winter 2008

What the destination has to offer

page 145

What the destination has to offer

Like trees, there are rings
in the small headbones of an eel
we count the rings to find the age.

Each bone too small for tweezers
my cousin plucks one up
stuck to a bead of silicon

on the end of a wire.
He is putting his bones under the microscope.
He can tell you what they've been eating.

They go to Samoa to breed
he tells me, probably Samoa
or somewhere with water

so deep it crushes the sperm
and eggs from their bodies.
They die then

and the tiny glass eels
make their way from Samoa
back to the same river

in the Horowhenua.
Salt, fresh, salt, he says.
The opposite of salmon.


page 146

I threw out the clock
the rubbish is ticking.
On television

people are making alarming discoveries
about the secret online lives
of their loved ones, the daughter

and the cyanide, the no-reason.
Our dishes smell of flyspray
I wash them while the flies circle

the same flies that have flown
the rooms of this house
in formation for weeks

two zizzing pairs.
Or perhaps they are
different flies every day

replenishing themselves
away from my gaze
middle-aged state servants

in a timeshare, bored
with what the destination has to offer
the hydroslide

the boardwalk
through the mangroves
bitching at each other

they can't settle
they should have gone
to Samoa instead.