In the beginning


It echoes like fruit from a vine twined
through trelliswork in a ghostly garden
summerhouse that had once been white.

Sad, glimpsed perfection and loss,
its instant disappearance. A million
crescent moons, stars in Matariki,

the sky all eyes and smiles, a year of
meteors, comets transient and strange.
Hōne Heke’s revenant body appears

by a Grey Lynn boarding house califont,
sharing a bath with Tame Iti and Pat
Downs. Body scans, taps and screening

assure security allegiance, perfunctory
as karakia at lunch, a pledge of lessons.
Twelve hours ago I started with Saint

Sophia’s constant refrain It’s time to 
turn west. It’s time to. A blank here,
where a paedophile was redacted, and

the student, his victim, another blank.
Lately I’m convinced of a parallel universe
like a negative where we’re the blanks

in some other reality, maybe a strike
organiser dancing gravitas with strangers;
Mr Whippy, Ronald Mac, and the first Māori

politician, conversing with neighbours
while wiping the slate clean, until I’m not
sure if I can ever trust anything written.

The taste of milk left sitting in the sun.
Thick wire mesh cages with surface rust.
Masculine and feminine forces coming

together, the purity of that first chime.
First, hear it. Next, listen to it. Only then,
silently, meticulously, it forms: logos.


Mercedes Webb-Pullman graduated with an MA from Victoria in 2011. Since then her poetry has been published often, in print and online journals. She has work in three Australian journals (Pure Slush, Scum, and SWAMP) but doesn’t read this as a comment on her work.