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Sport 35: Winter 2007

C.K. Stead

page 125

C.K. Stead


Once in an airport
(my friend told me)
she saw an old

man, and thought
'When he's truly old
that's how Victor will

look.' Victor was
the man she'd married
first, when young, and

divorced—long since
forgotten. 'Poor Victor,'
she thought, and

looked again as
he came towards her,
arms extended.

page 126


When Claude Debussy
died our friend
Ljuba who lives in

by the canal
decided from now on

her life would be
catless—no more
midnight serenades,

no more 2 a.m.
scratching at the
window, no more

visits to the
vet with frostbitten
ears and battle

wounds. Now she would
travel. She practiced
places-names aloud—

'Grand Rapids'
savouring the sound—

page 127

until, that is, a
ginger stray, half-grown,
with paws like

a lion cub came
by. His purr was
a consonant,

his growl spoke
of the Caucasus. She
called him Pushkin.


Lone Kauri Road is
haunted by Allen Curnow
hunting for a word.

Hunting for a word
on Lone Kauri Road I met
Allen Curnow's ghost.

Was it the same word
he and I were hunting for
on Lone Kauri Road?

page 128


Never disparage the Ego
it is your surfboard
your sail.

Remember how you deplored
its flying colours
its love of surfaces
the way it sailed past pain
eyes always
on the brilliant horizon?

Without it soon
you will find yourself
alone in the water
and on a day when wind
beats green waves brown
you will accept
the salt fact of the sea
and you will drown.