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methods of assessing the likely presence of a terrorist threat in a remote indigenous community


Wake in the dark to the sound of a log 
dropping to the ground in a distant timber yard 
a train uncoupling in the village 
the growl of something old 
angry and tethered.

No. It’s just your wife’s gentle snore. 
Don’t allow the year to scare 
the substance out of you – a woeful 
fight between a toddler and a swarm of bees. 
A predetermined sonata, but screamed.

Hide your Christmas funds in the empty 
World War Two artillery shell. 
When it matters most 
have someone bend over your bed 
to adjust the pillows, lifting and opening.

When she says Please don’t leave me 
Say No, it is you who is leaving me. 
Choose the avocado and the yellow ballpoint 
with the testament This pen was stolen 
from Finn McCool’s Irish Pub

712 Great South Road Manukau City. 
For your final meal demand 
beer and jaffa custard plus those twig-thin 
chocolate spirals at two dollars ninety-five a dozen. 
A fine writing implement melting between your fingers.

When someone says a pole without a flag 
respond a woman in her pyjamas kneeling 
on concrete. Post something 
to PO Box 47 Taneatua 
then wait for the small, brown flowers

to burst open. Listen to the 
newspaper-reading in the next room 
the crack of the page under your writing hand 
something metal, unoiled 
turning in the wind.



From 'kōiwi kōiwi | bone bone', Victoria University Press (2010)

Read this poem on 'Best New Zealand Poems' 2010

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Learn more about the State Terror Raids on Tūhoe and other activists, October 2007

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