Size / / /

In this way come the names. The kete of knowledge, grasp them, word-woven.

The stars were not spilled from them to scatter—

they are taonga, treasured

a sorrowed son's gift to his father the Sky.

In the spaces between the great river of the goddess of the north,

cloud-shadow, counter-clear, in the south strides the Emu.

Rifted, reflected—

the same place holds the great waka, star-spanned

and the leaping maw of hammer-headed mangō-pare

earnest enemies of fishes.

Some names are found from the quickness of birds

(all the kindness of Tāne; leaf-shadow and branch-shiver, fern-frond unfolded),

even in the tired patience of the frigatebird's long arc, soaring the Pacific,

once seen from a small bark off the isles called Galapagos;

and some from the long slow vastnesses

the patience of ice, the presence of the All-Frozen, seal-teared

children of unknowing oceans.




Michele Bannister has an uncommon fondness for distant worlds both small and icy. She lives in Australia, where she is working towards her doctorate in astronomy. Her poetry has appeared in Strange Horizons, Ideomancer, Stone Telling and other venues, in the Here, We Cross anthology (Stone Bird Press, 2012), and is forthcoming in inkscrawl and Goblin Fruit.
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16 Jan 2017

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