ocean/saltwater/waitī/mulli tahnee
where i’m from the sand is cold     at night, the shells empty, grey
cloud scudding like
the irewaru the spirit voices
on the shore

tender salt, gentle rush of foam
no explorer can hold enough breath for where i’m from
fathoms and fathoms deep                  


              i have heard. i have danced
narrative after narrative

have heard it sung
have done the singing               
our shadows are nuclear                      
our gods can swim                    

‘never turn your back on the ocean.’ i hear this
everytime i have saltwater up my nose, down the back of my throat, making me cough;
everytime i have sand in my togs, or socks; everytime
i place the smallest of cateyes in my pocket and whisper a karakia. i hear my mother.