Title: Sport 36

Publication details: Fergus Barrowman, 2008

Part of: Sport

Conditions of use



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Sport 36: Winter 2008

Hinemoana Baker

page 142

Hinemoana Baker

To my mother's surgeon

I dreamed you were taking photographs of me
concrete, elect, manipulating my tape-ribbon
in a room filled with light and sound

events, a bombardment. I was wearing
brown brushed satin, my eardrum
a hammer and anvil, you were

taking them from behind, catching
the smallest bones: the ossicles
the tympanic line of my jawbone, the flick

of vestibular canals, liquid balance
of eyelashes but not the eye. Outside,
decisions and idiophones

aerophones were being made, floating on the
threshold. Steam inhaled now waving
back at me from the water, washing to be done

and the dry wish of paper-stacking.
There were nests of musicians
and among them a pile of quiet

truck-horns. I broke off a letter in mid-sentence
to say: isn't that part of you in front of us?
Sir, Mister, I seek the direct

page 143

hope you were never given as a child
the buttery contact of fingers
and the quality of sleep I very much

hope you enjoy on the 25th
or 16th of the month the night before
the morning of the anaesthetic. Pull up

a stool, Mr Cochlear, finger its red brocade.
Pump the pedals—the thin black, the wider white ones.
Breathe in the polish. Play her precious keys.

The fossils

I feel
says the woman on the bus
like I've swallowed a branch

is this a new flu?
The bus-driver says
I feel like I've swallowed a hurry.

Well I
says the depot manager
I feel like I've swallowed

a large white brick
state house
the brick isn't real

page 144

it's a kind of cladding
at one corner a nest
of spiders is building.

We the shareholders
feel like we've swallowed a bus
no—several buses

trolley buses or trams that depend
on electricity for their volition
and wave sparking antennae

at thick wires criss-crossing our city
making every suburb and hotspot
accessible without resort

to the motorcar
and its archaic fossil-fuel-burning

We are a branch
say the fossils
of your family.

page 145

What the destination has to offer

Like trees, there are rings
in the small headbones of an eel
we count the rings to find the age.

Each bone too small for tweezers
my cousin plucks one up
stuck to a bead of silicon

on the end of a wire.
He is putting his bones under the microscope.
He can tell you what they've been eating.

They go to Samoa to breed
he tells me, probably Samoa
or somewhere with water

so deep it crushes the sperm
and eggs from their bodies.
They die then

and the tiny glass eels
make their way from Samoa
back to the same river

in the Horowhenua.
Salt, fresh, salt, he says.
The opposite of salmon.


page 146

I threw out the clock
the rubbish is ticking.
On television

people are making alarming discoveries
about the secret online lives
of their loved ones, the daughter

and the cyanide, the no-reason.
Our dishes smell of flyspray
I wash them while the flies circle

the same flies that have flown
the rooms of this house
in formation for weeks

two zizzing pairs.
Or perhaps they are
different flies every day

replenishing themselves
away from my gaze
middle-aged state servants

in a timeshare, bored
with what the destination has to offer
the hydroslide

the boardwalk
through the mangroves
bitching at each other

they can't settle
they should have gone
to Samoa instead.