Range of Affection

1. Taranaki

No biting wind for
the one in yellow
limping across the carpark.
Around him bunch
four more puff jackets
not touching, barely.
The same tight five
we spied this morning
inching down the ridge line;
in front, a dab of yellow.
Field glasses couldn’t see
his nose packed with gauze,
a body sorely
kissed by rocks.

2. Aso

Could Tatsu (the name
means dragon, or stand)
sprint the length of a train
before the doors closed?
The first express of the morning
slowed to a stop. He flew
straight into a hiker from
the city stepping off.
It was the hiker, Tatsu tells us,
who brought to the ward
this punnet of cherries.
A bird watcher for years
she was sorry again for
not having looked.

3. Etna

A warm patch of grass,
daypacks for headrests.
In that distant plume stretching
from the mouth
Luca sees an aunt who
smoked at times.
So his family divined
from the stubs in the tin
in the snow where she fell.
At the wake, though,
they were lifted
by a club climber who recalled
the lady in the Alps always
picking up after others.

4. Sanbe

For the summit her mother
packs toothpicks for
the peeled slices of nashi.
Half pear, half apple.
Also meaning without.
Plucked from her
grandmother’s altar,
the fruit is still firm after
three days bathing in incense
for the leftover bones
each of us
(even the youngest)
carefully placed in the urn
with chopsticks.



Brent Kininmont‘s poems can be found in other places online, including Ōrongohau | Best New Zealand Poems, and in his collection, Thuds Underneath (THWUP).