Bernadette Hall

The White Dress

How the skin loves to be touched,
light strokes on the surface like a bird stroking
the blowy air, the windmill like a back-stroker
in the wind water.

                                 Tell me who I am,
the way the body is a book, a famous French
novel with the pages cut, maybe Paul et Virginie.

How we hope to hang onto things forever,
wrapping them in creamy hand-washed shawls,
laying them in a series of polished drawers:
the land title, a man’s title in a dying institution,
a tobacco pouch made from the blue inked skin
of an enemy, the white dress.

                                                   How it fills
and billows in the air that rises from damp ground
from the river at the edge of the clearing,
moonlight in the flounces, so lovely, so European.
Te Keepa, in his scarlet jacket, watching.

Author’s Note


Previous section.

Next section.