new zealand electronic poetry centre


Tusiata Avia

Fugacity 05
Online Poetry Anthology


Wild Dogs Under My Skirt

I want to tattoo my legs.
Not blue or green
but black.

I want to sit opposite the tufuga
and know he means me pain.
I want him to bring out his chisel
and hammer
and strike my thighs
the whole circumference of them
like walking right round the world
like paddling across the whole Pacific
in a log
knowing that once you’ve pushed off
loaded the dogs on board
there’s no looking back now, Bingo.

I want my legs as sharp as dogs’ teeth
wild dogs
wild Samoan dogs
the mangy kind that bite strangers.

I want my legs like octopus
black octopus
that catch rats and eat them.

I even want my legs like centipedes
the black ones
that sting and swell for weeks.

And when it’s done
I want the tufuga
to sit back and know they’re not his
they never were

I want to frighten my lovers
let them sit across from me
and whistle through their teeth.

From Wild Dogs Under My Skirt (Victoria UP, 2004)

Last updated 8 May, 2005