new zealand electronic poetry centre


Jeffrey Paparoa Holman

Fugacity 05
Online Poetry Anthology


Lichen ochre

So when you’ve had enough a good way to go would
be have a Komatsu digger gobble
out a trench

in the tailings where the Ngahere dredge chewed
through, lie under a frost of rust-

-plant you can’t describe, the perfect korowai
to cloak a body. Think
of it: buried

bones, as if your big black Labrador had pawed
a hole for a favourite
snack to

dig up
later. You’d really be back-to-
nature then, whatever the hell that means. Floods

like thunder
overhead, churning your bones
with sheep and cattle, rata stumps and glacial

gravel, split
off Mueller centuries
ago. You’d almost feel alive, like the river’s

brutish gut
could throw you up
for the Second Coming. I know a guy who’ll

drive the digger. All
we need now is for someone to
say “yes” and I’ll go down and talk to the river.

Last updated 22 April, 2005