new zealand electronic poetry centre


Graham Lindsay

online works

coming through

At five-fifty the membranes fifty mls
of pinkish fluid;

a plane driving round
a camber in the twilight, headlights

yellow cones through low cloud.
On the six o'clock news

the story of a confidence
man's latest trick.

In the bath, the contractions
come and go

talking of Michelangelo
every three minutes. And suddenly,

there's no time to waste,
no time to wash hair;

no time for accidents
or traffic infringements,

despite having the best
excuse in the world.

In the event, it's the dinner hour,
we have the road to ourselves.

Halfway there you raise yourself
from the back seat to see

where we are
and groan.

Someone must be looking after us
because there's a spare park

in the carpark.
'There goes one now,'

says a street kid
from the half dark.

You wade the corridor
following the taped blue line

right up the middle of a gobsmacked
ante-natal group,

hoping a contraction
won't drop you to the lino.

The midwife puts socks
on your feet to keep them

warm. It was your idea
but you hadn't foreseen

how weird it would seem
when it came time to liberate

this other little body.
You practise letting go,

a mad woman on all fours
battling for life. And now she's

telling you to keep it inward!
It's like waves on the sea.

It's like coming through.
It's like coming through

the Lyttelton tunnel,
the hillside shaking.

It's like making love.
And here he is coming

wide-eyed into the world,
a birthmarked aviator

in a vasodilated bodysuit,
just the suggestion

of an afterthought
to the obligatory cry.

Oh you sweet thing,
dark star of knowledge,

Rona, ataahua, humarie,
small circle of light,

karauna, tipuaki,


From Lazy Wind Poems (Auckland: AUP, 2003)
Graham Lindsay

Last updated 23 December, 2003