Tangimoana - by Deborah Thompson


by Deborah Thompson

This is the place where life comes to leave.
No place for sunbathers. Unless they be

the washed up remains of trees, twice dead
bones of the earth, parched and stark
in dreadful sunlight, as if they belonged to night.

Unless they be the shags watching the fresh river
rush out to the breakers – new threads in the
blanket of water drawing itself onto the sand toes
of the beach – their wings wide open in youthful
apathy as the breeze, breath of the sea, dances

through their damp feathers the way it rustles
the Toetoe, angel hair, whale teeth, filtering
whispered stories from the ocean.

Was it my great grandmother?
Who one morning felt the tide
of her life coming in to go out,
and took a walk to the shore,
stepping softly into sea-foam and salt

death, her stiffening body wrapped
in a watery pall, then left, arns splayed,
to dry off in the sun.
A swift cure for old age.