Eurydice learns about snake bites

It’s a matter of safety and practical scouting. 
She can light a fire and build a bivvie, sing 
a national anthem in two languages. She can 
sew on a button and semaphore 
messages back to land. She can practise 
CPR, and is ready to save a life, even her own. 

There are many things she knows. 

Tonight she will unstitch the edges of her eyelids 
and let her crocodile brain take cold-blooded pleasure 
from deep inside. 

The unstitching begins with the needle 
and thread beneath recycled crochet blankets. 

       Can you hear me? 
       Open your eyes. 
       What is your name? 
       Squeeze my finger. 

Her body will unwind on ceramic tiles 
and slide underneath the bathroom door 
to ready itself for the curiosity 
of initiation. She has prepared for the unconscious. 
Becoming and repeating the spell. 

       Can you hear me? 


Eurydice in dreamtime

From the bedroom window, a hessian curtain cuts the view. Past the commission flats
and out into the desert, strange creatures bury bones to hide their intelligent design.
The river bunyip sings from the end of Smith Street. He wants to know if you’re
chasing him because he’s ready to play. 
Can you hear me? 
Tall palm trees grow in the gaps between buildings. At the Carlton Club, long-legged
trannies reapply lipstick and leave bloodstains on anaglypta wallpaper. You use the fire
escape to climb to the roof over detritus of one hundred years of hotel lost property
and some barbed wire. You have an enduring thirst. Please have a can of beer. 
Open your eyes. 
An Italian nonna uses her hose as a broom on her concrete lawn. She grows heirloom
tomatoes in styrofoam boxes and keeps an eye on the neighbourhood. It’s not her evil
eye. That’s saved for her daughter’s new boyfriend. You and he go tyre-kicking on
Friday nights. She knows because she can see you. 
What is your name? 
An outdoor crust of sleep in your eyes cracks an egg yolk and the early morning
rumble of tram tracks. You cough a cockroach, and smell the silverfish, ripe at the
edge of the linoleum. Their insect armours march along historic song-lines. They
whispered stories of first contact while you slept. 
Squeeze my finger. 


Kate McKinstry lives in Mt Cook, and reassures friends it is a suburb of Wellington, and not as slope on the southern mountain. They believe her easily. She has completed an MA at the IIML in 2010 She prefers to live in a city and has lived in Auckland, Christchurch,  Taipei, London, Antibes, New York, Perth and Melbourne, which is the setting for a series of Eurydice poems.