Sport 5: Spring 1990
Bernadette Hall — Panda Postcards To A Businessman In New York
Freefalling in Auckland
a city of volcanoes, in the path
of a cyclone I can talk to you
Pandas are solitary.
They find each other out by scent
over many miles & only for mating.
You are standing at the window
of the St Mauritz, South Central.
It is 1.30 yesterday & 20 below.
You are homesick.
Pandas have no
regular dens. They will make do with
any place that takes their fancy.
Soon you will drop
through the heated floor in a lift
to the ground,
from the moneyed hush
drift into the crowd where an elderly
bagman is knocked off his bike & knifed.
A boy with a red mouth will offer you
Pandas jaws can crunch
through bone as easily as bamboo,
however they prefer not to.
On the wrong side of the wrong
I am lost in the biggest
supermarket in the southern hemi-
sphere, where young men with rasta
hair & blue tattoos kiss fat babies
full on the mouth.
We all are stocking
up against the time.
Panda cubs are
born in a white fuzz. Within a week
they have black rings under their eyes.
Restrained like Torvill & Dean
in our brave gestures,
down our points of view to a red
dot *YOU ARE HERE & we still
don't believe it. We doublecheck
our return tickets.
In an overflow
of begonias, the pandas lie close
& motionless. Alongside is enough.