Hongoeka love poems

Warning at dawn
from the carvers at the pou:
Mana atua
Mana whenua, Mana
tangata: pay attention.

Midday, low-tide dive.
Water clear and mind-numbing.
Snakestail star, brittlestar, Cook’s
Turban. Like the man himself
I shouldn’t be here.

Well, I was invited,
even if I’m unworthy
of the gift and hardly know
the rules. I’m paying this debt
with Hongoeka love poems.

Disturbance on the
water. I wade past the reef
towards the boil-up.
Tiny fins track the surface:
dog sharks, learning how to hunt.

Steering wheel molten
in the late summer sun.
Slip through the marae
gates: Hongoeka Bay like
platinum. Like time-travel.

Drawn-out afternoons.
Lawns gone brown without winter.
Whiskey in one hand
weeder in the other
you’re digging out dandelions.

glows in the heart at sunset.
Sun alive, like us.
Red filaments on water.
High tide at Hongoeka.

Moon at three-quarters.
Blood dust on the beach’s lip.
Silver shawl draws up
Rangituhi’s shoulder. I
stand completely still.

Michaela Keeble


Michaela Keeble is an Australian writer living in Aotearoa with her partner and three kids. She mainly writes press releases about climate change, but her poetry and fiction is also published online and in print, including in Southerly, Plumwood Mountain, Cicerone, Mimicry, Capital, Turbine and CommunityLore.

© 2019