Sport 36: Winter 2008
He slept by Grassmere Pond. The water, thick
with sludged and crackled salt-shine, glitter-skinned,
shone like Heaven's banner dipped in sin.
He dreamed of giants wading hills, their skin
as blue as sailors' shirts, their arms like wind,
their feet like wakas. Then they drowned. A slick
of liquid paua brimmed their stridden ground.
They fell as trees. Beneath the diamond calm
he saw their glued eyes flick. He woke up, sweat
shining on his skin. His shirt was wet.
He snorted like a drowning man. One arm
was empty as a breeze. He turned around.
His eyes blinked in the glare. Two giants lay
asleep beside his bike. He crawled away.
Pupu Springs, the sign said. Crank crank crank.
The carpark bare. He shat twice in the shed,
then tiptoed through the bushes. Water slid
all round him, silent, massive, swift, like liquid
motorways. He reached the spring. A sign said,
wahi tapu. In he slipped. He sank.
He struggled, water-knotted. Blub. He saw
bright sandflies, moons and green weeds. Silver sand
danced and glittered on the bottom. Something
held him, bore him, washed him in the swing
of pureclear water, freshed him, grabbed his hand
and pulled him out, and dumped him on the shore.
Flop. He gurgled. Gasped. And giggled. Soon
he fell asleep, dried softly by the moon.
Up and down, up and down, all night
he walked the beach round Fossil Point like some
key-searching ghost, his little bones enhazed
with glow-warps weaved of sand and spray, all smazed
with sways of moonlight. Hither, thither, come
and go, and backwards, forwards, graptolite
and glow-worm, bird and stone. But not alone.
Down the beach a man was fishing, black
against the stars, his rod and line as if
holding sea and land together, tensive,
wired, momentous. Still he scuttled. Back
and forth and back like sand against a bone.
The fisher found no fish, the ghost no key.
The sun came up and danced across the sea.