The Things We Carried

My body is not a clock

it has driftwood in it

four stone adzes

a beech tree, kauri

a stand of kahikatea

in the swamp

six pieces of broken glass

on the tide line

five of them

polished smooth

My body is not a clock

it has the sound

of wind arriving in the trees

a two am cargo train

a man sleeping

my breath

the sea’s

My body is not a clock

it is moons and cycles

the tide, a mountain

an orchard

it is story

Wherewithal

is a thumb-sized nymph

who protects the mouth of a river

where a taniwha guards green stones

from travellers

She goes by the name Nail

has the look of a windblown

dandelion seed

her magic from a powder

made of whiskers

cut from the cat

who lives in the moon

Nail is always smiling

but she has riddles

that live within her

waiting for you

her body is not a clock

My body is not a clock

it is a story

and in the story

a small child is counting

as far as it can go

learning time

as though it is numbers

My body is not a clock

it is a story

and in that story

there is a woman

with her belly and birth pains

her feet are covered in dirt

she has marathons in her thighs

her body is not a clock

My body is not a clock

it is a story

and in the story

two red apple trees

are waiting

for some kind of summer

to fruit

_ _ _ _ From Bullet Hole Riddle (Steele Roberts, 2014) Previously published in 4th Floor 2013 Performed with improvised music by Matt Reece at Poetry Live, 2013

POEMS ON THE PAGE

A selection of poems from Miriam Barr's first major collection, Bullet Hole Riddle.