I am all saliva and static 
before the big race. I secretly want 
to be the horse; the jaw 
and the strange elemental eye. 
The sun along my long muscles. 
I will be good; I will be good. 
I make the glorious mouth. 
It is a heart-blossom red I choose. 
I leave teeth marks. 
When the tapes are up, I’m on the steel. 
I hit my straps. The sun in my lungs. 
The whole town looks behind. 

The Gorge

I lived in the library 
for there was 
the library itself, 
a child out the front 
and I did not look up. 
I did not want to visit. Sundays driven through 
with boredom; we hurtled across the Wairarapa. 
My father drove as fast as he could 
his hat pulled low 
a cattle truck a petrol tanker a train 
on the curve between the bridges – 
one hand held the matchbox 
the other struck the light – 
undercover of smoke 
in the back seat of the Zodiac 
our guns loose in our hands 
my mother in her helmet 
of hairspray; we shot through 
the Gorge and out to Palmerston North 
stitched in stiff, pressed 
my hands folded in my lap. 
Going home, the Gorge rinsed 
us out, the dark bricked eye 
of the railway tunnel. 


Marty Smith realises how much she loves teaching, having returned to the rich world of Taradale High School.