Summer’s Avon spelt the names of atua in green,
and through trees sun shafts dug at dappled lawns,
as if to unearth a circuit-board of worm-holes,
the universe beneath the labyrinth,
the silent presence of mountain shingle
across the curve of the island’s waist.
Teen racers hummed like bees in a hive,
and late autumn was the harlequin
hurrying past them down Bealey Ave,
towards the rusted, busted, midnight hour,
its sword-and-sorcery pageant of flashing sabres,
its chorus lines of black on moonlit runnelled iron.
They drained the swamp for bodies,
and found a city in a smog overcoat the colour
of mid-winter: a swallowed-up netherland.
Around it, paddock windbreaks rose in ranks,
long shadows falling like guillotines,
as night exhaled its nausea.
Frosted spring melted into this deep carpet,
and from Port Hills rolled the squared-away harvest,
whose matted roots expressed pedigrees of settlement,
a holding pattern of heartbeats, brainwaves, fingerprints
down blind alleys. The city breathed in –
a hot-air balloon sailed above its festoons of bitumen.