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Sport 35: Winter 2007

South Island Diary

page 106

South Island Diary

On the ferry a machine promises
to turn your coin into a beautiful souvenir.
But it's broken.

In Lawrence, F Martin 1922 is carved on a stone façade—
did he think his business would last forever?
We come by, hot and moody,
and there's an old sewing machine in the window
with a jumble of objects. We argue over
whether we like it here, and how long to stay,
but love to walk along Back St and Breakneck Rd.

Once, I wrote out my childhood address in full—
from Scobie Road through to The Universe.
Each line opened a new window and my home began the list.
Today we drive across the heart of the island.
On the car stereo, a man sings of what he sees,
as his brother drives him to jail.

In Geraldine, rain pounds the deck
like horse's hooves.
One evening in a new room
full of pictures of ducks
I use Pine-o-Clean to wash the dishes
instead of Morning Dew.

On the coast road to Oamaru
we see the signs for All Day Bay
and Vanished World. I want to stop the car
and imagine my way back
to people who left drawings on rock,
bones in the soil, walked through
en route to somewhere else,
in the accidental way of becoming history
we all share. Today, I remember my past,
other days, I'm rinsed clean as the ocean.