Title: Sport 38

Publication details: Fergus Barrowman, 2010, Wellington

Part of: Sport

Conditions of use



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Sport 38: Winter 2010

Kay Corns

page 118

Kay Corns


Sometimes I want to tell my father things
like how forgiveness and forgetting
look the same
or how I always write palace
when I mean place.

That I remember when he would take
me to Jellicoe Park and I thought
the water in the adults'
pool was blue.

When I was older
I dived into the bottom
opened my eyes and saw
it was just painted onto
the floor and the walls
that the water was see through
the whole time.

Sometimes I want to tell him how
netball and swimming made me ace,
that's when I stopped being an alien.

That I remember him laying
out the wallpaper on a trestle table,
sloshing the paste onto the back of it,
then pressing it up against the wall
and rubbing it down with his hand
tilting his head one way then the next

page 119

to make sure all the little boats
on the pattern were straight.

And when he came to school
on race day, every time I looked
up to take a breath I could see him
running alongside me on the edge of the pool.
I couldn't hear what he was saying
but it looked like he was singing.

One of the Gods

We go to Maraetai
the flash beach with
white sand.

There is one of everything
squashed in the car:
boiled potatoes in cream
a jar of boiled eggs
cold chicken and lettuce
a new beach umbrella
covered in palm trees.

We'll be here till dark
because of all that petrol,
makes sense to make
a day of it.

High tide means
the boys doing doughnuts
off the wharf.

page 120

Me and Fale swim,
then lie out on beach towels
covered in Coppertone.

At low tide
we fill the bait catcher with bread
then lower it into the water,
all the sprats swim slowly inside.
Boy picks out the biggest one
lays it out on the board
opens up the gut,
pulls out the bread
squishes it between his fingers,
then sticks it in his mouth,
chews and swallows.

Uncle laughs.
You're making legends Boy,
you're one of the Gods now.


Nan is so close to the earth,
folded like a sheet
over the back of a chair.

She can't see the sky until
we hold her arm and
she twists her neck around.

She recognises us by our feet
and knows where we have been
by our footprints.

page 121

She walks among the horses,
they follow her like dogs.
She could walk right under one
and they wouldn't know.

She picks up twigs and sticks
for the small fire and big fire,
her cardigan pockets full of
rustling leaves and bark.

The little orange machete always
in her hand feeds all her secret
stashes of wood, under the bed
and in cupboards.

She will lean down a few more
inches and go into the ground
outside in the big paddock where
she sits chopping at wood,

making soldiers to start the fire,
lining them up to dry in
the sun along the fence line.