Grant Report, New Zealand

Gorse flowers yellow. Aloe red
as muscle in a school diagram. What
have I learned? The dead vanish
into the old radio. Some words of te reo,
including kōrero: speech, story, to talk.
A longing for directness. That I
say too much. The poems there
hike through the topography
of collision (magpie and tui,
continental plates). I traveled
stairs and bushy zigzags fast
as I dared, American listening
to a southern winter’s layers of green.
I love to talk; talk uses me up.

I managed to walk downhill only,
from house through campus to
city, catching rides when I should
have climbed. Imagine me in cross-
section: blue branching veins, grain
of trapezius, gray finger joints.
It doesn’t really tell you what’s
important, what’s changed. Not
how a baby slept in a veiled pram
outside the German bakery, zone
of coffee perfume and mini-mudslides.
Rock walls speaking in clod words.
How I sidestepped those clay salvos,
burnt tongue dozing in my mouth.