falling from grace


in this forest
a great tree falling
does not fall alone

He would run if he had feet to run but he can only breathe and splinter,
his fingertip twigs laced tightly with old fellows’, holding hard to the years 
but the wood tears like dried flesh, muscle from bone, the skin ripping back,
and it seems as if the sky has lost its place too, the noise thundering inside 
his head, ballooning like a dust cloud. Everything, even the tiniest
spinning in the wind: moss, twigs, birds, rats and weta in the leaf litter 
circling, swirling, laying down, floating, turning round and round, and round
till the quiet too is fallen, a silence that spreads and rises — a helicopter lifting 
away from the scene, the tangle, a scar forming in the shadowed greenery
open to the storm.

watching for ice forming


Maybe better not to look at the wings; look out to the clouds alongside
and ridges of Orongorongo bunched like debris swept to the side of a pool.
I consider wind, how it catches and tosses, when to correct and
how much to turn into the flow. A white wing rises in banking
over Khandallah and boxes lined in regular rows in Ngaio.
A cupboard shuts; wheels thud down. Wings wave twice to say yep, 
Wellington has us now in a thigh grip of hills.

New anatomical study says the venus mound is home
to four centimetres of erectile tissue. No superficial structure this.


Naomi O’Connor is a writer and editor living in Wellington. She has completed the poetry and landscape writing workshops at Victoria University. She spends a lot of time constructing a return to the South Island, and has also written non-fiction titles.