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   n z e p c
Cath Kenneally   

All Together Now: A Digital Bridge for Auckland and Sydney             


get a grip

                        (Janet Charman: wake up to yourself)

go on
sweep up the droppings

rats are cleaner than mice

neat and compact, like
tiny sheep pellets

sheep manure’s good for the garden
you’d need a lot of these

but you drop them
in the compost bin

that’s something

what’s the problem? Rats only smell
when they’re dead

and whose fault will that be?

the thing is they’re so heavy
it’d be like a doorstop on your foot

a dirty mouse far preferable

knock the dustpan against the bin

try not to think of babies
left in the nest

in Japan
they mean good luck

if we’re to believe
the Antiques Road Show

bronzes expert
there is certainly

a mountain town in India
where they’re worshipped

scrambling up and over
unprotesting residents

rather than go
round them



after a night’s

in the wainscoting

imminent invasion

i find
on the shovel

of earth
i scoop

to sprinkle
on the peelings

a perfect
miniature skull

narrow snout
deep-gouged eye-craters

so many
flawless teeth

i run my finger
along their edges

reach the giveaway
front incisors

rattus rattus
sports model

brainpan of
a smart operator

they watch & watch
us shambling, blind



and then
at nightfall

in early dark

no moon
i turn

from the gate
up high is a block

a tapered lozenge
of denser shadow

bird on a cable
too still

too heavy

all eyes
hook and tackle

lets me observe
her infrared scan

of the ground
at my feet

one of
what she’s after

a bodylength away
wherever i stand

her feathered skull
a rotating searchlight

atop the razor-wire
the yard

no playground

a detention



fight, fight!
                        (Janet Charman: lessons from the Waitakeres)


she was a beautiful
woman, your mother
Moira said

did they tell
her that?
probably, knowing Moira

i hope mum
took it
to heart

she was nicer
to her students
than to us

Saint Aloysius College
where she went

would never
badmouth the nuns

they bundled her off quick smart
when the time came

she didn’t get
much older

fluttering against the windows
like a trapped moth
with dad gone

only still for
games of ‘May I’
with her sisters

with no-one to fight
she went to jelly

we didn’t predict that
should have been cheekier
kept her dander up





©Cath Kenneally