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Michele Leggott  

All Together Now: A Digital Bridge for Auckland and Sydney             


many hands

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day six

the oranges are gone so we pack
the last of the ambrosia into bags and head
for Cockatoo Island    outside the fragrance   
of fish sauce is overpowering and vendors
push handcarts piled high with teaspoons
buttons and clips for the families of dead soldiers
it’s Legacy Day it’s going gangbusters
with many hands to dig out an appellation
for this and other adventures we’d like to see
between our islands and their talking coasts
voters  peons  yahoos    café  casino  garage
reef  riff  roulette  séance  shipwreck  wilderness
we’re not going to solve it today and so
the expeditions take their leave of one another
promising to meet again one day soon

at the quay someone steps forward
with a talisman for the voyage    smooth in my hand
covered with bright trails and beating hearts    a stone
she calls caterpillar dreaming    a painted stone
from a place we can know nothing of    a gift to carry
to the island of abandoned industry redoubts
and cells for recalcitrants cut into the living rock
was there a fever hospital a dry dock a sail loft?
did the people of this place climb the hill
for eggs from the nests of these raging birds?
a libation in plastic glasses we make to them
the birds and the people    then the boat called
FRIENDSHIP floats us back in time to catch
the haka in front of a blow-up football
swaying gently beside the water

let’s ride the monorail that tram
in the sky whose thunder reminds us
with pink and green cars that the Jetsons
will live forever    let’s walk in the park
as the sun goes down and the bats begin
their hunt    memory reflects in a pool
with lights and a mausoleum    there’s the hospital
the little pig with the golden snout
and water dripping from his bristly chin
there’s the mint then the barracks that became
an asylum    there are the railings
and behind them the benches where one might sit
looking out at the balmy world
but your rules are the ravings of fevers
bred of shadows fantastic and vain
that are spun by the little white weavers
in the mystical loom of the brain
this is Lola 1906    she is good at reversing
the view and giving the silent a voice

at Mother Chu’s we eat vegetarian
Peking duck and wonder about the wantons
crispy or with soup    delicious either way
the fishy pungence blanketing the city
has cleared off    we reach Macchiato
and get takeouts as rain begins to fall

little boar il porcellino
in your Florentine fountain pool
with frogs and turtles crabs and scallops
mustered at your feet    fresh water salt water
gift of a contessa little dribbling pig
whose nose we rubbed in the dark for luck
as memory unfolded contrejour against
the light of an Uffizi workroom    your silhouette
a restoration    a glimpse    another world


©Michele Leggott