planting in exile


My mother orders we sweat-haul seaweed from
sea level to terraced garden, squinting back at the
ships, measuring slow progress by shrinking them
to tiny toys with the weed spread wild behind us on
the road, like the hair of the Furies. Then we bed
it down among dry plants, spawn of dying monsters
washed up after storms. Though crusted with
thirsty salt, it obeys her command and slowly dyes
the faded grey sheets of soil into pastels. It brings the
riches of green depths up the hillside to her, miracles
desiccated flowers with all the strange powers of the
Sea-King. She holds a high edict of transformation like
a sceptre and I have felt her wrath and chill when
her smile is eclipsed. At night I wonder if I shall find
her with the moon shivering in the bay, stars stroking
her forehead, holding court with what lies below.


Chris Parsons is an Ōtautahi | Christchurch writer, whose most recent work appears or is pending in Fuego and takahē in Aotearoa, First Literary Review East and Shot Glass Journal in the USA, and Honest Ulsterman, Orbis, and The Oxonian Review in the UK.