I drive from your apartment to pick up a friend
of a friend from the train station, take them to Muriwai
to see the gannets. It is a warm day but there’s a bite
in the air. My passenger is dressed for winter.
She removes her seatbelt on the way
to peel off layer by layer. She has a gift for me.
I have made sandwiches.
She tells me the correct pronunciation of her name
Rhymes with margarine. I imagine a plastic tub but
laugh as seems expected of me.
The wind on the west coast is strong, feels cold.
A tourist has collected pink starfish
from the sea and put them in a rock pool
by the car park, his friends pose
with them for photographs. My friend’s friend calls them
Morons, and black sand blows iron into our eyes
as we walk from the beach, up the wooden stairs
to the cliff-top look-out.
A woman in a pencil skirt is leaning over the edge
of the barrier to get a better view of the gannet
chicks. Grey downy fluffs
with heads so big in comparison to their wings
they must find it an effort to raise them
to feed. It’s only later, when I take her place,
almost to the point
where falling for someone with my legs and lack of grace
seems inevitable, that it becomes possible then essential
to take in the dead.
Rachel J Fenton is a working-class writer from South Yorkshire, living in Aotearoa New Zealand. Her poems have appeared in English, Magma, and The Rialto. Rachel is on Twitter https://twitter.com/RaeJFenton and Facebook https://www.facebook.com/rae.