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Johanna Emeney               
New Zealand

Kitchen - Charles Olsen

On State Highway Two
towards Gisborne

at the bottom of hills
like plucked hessian sacks

he waits in the unfenced garden,
a wet rope tasselling from his neck.

He is untethered but standing still.
Rain dapples him, drops into the rim

of his slack netherlip
until the front door snaps open

and the familiar small-change jangle
of bridle and snaffle announces usefulness.

His ears prick like feathers in the headpiece
of Goldie's old Te Rarawa chief,

his chin-tremble; his moko.


In this drought
a crack has worked its way
up or down our lounge wall -
a crinkle
to a hairline
to a mad jaw of a thing.

The builder talks of settling,
waiting for a change in the weather,
giving it a few days,

and you are fine
with putting panic on hold
for a rainy day,
while I'm on a fault line,

looking up past the picture
you have hung to hide it,
pulling out the settee to see
how much worse it is tonight;

until the cross-hatch
of buckled tape
and seamed board
look too much like a mistake
or a torn page.

When wrinkles
spread across ceilings
and doors swell shut
so I have to tug and sweat
to get out,

I expect you to be there
on the other side.

Jo Emeney is an English teacher at Kristin School, Albany. She lives on Auckland's North Shore with her husband, David. Jo has been back home in New Zealand for four years, having spent fourteen years in England. Her poems have been published in North and South, Poetry NZ, Takahe, English in Aotearoa, The Guardian and Snorkel.