Le Masinaedoscope


Out on the deck, holding the viewfinder she got for her sixth Christmas
she points it up at the sky and turns through each moon on the wheel,
sliding it between a mottled waxing gibbous, a smoky airbrushed eclipse,
a pink snakeskin full. Landing on an aqua-and-orange half,

she waves her childhood up high in the air and the sky stirs,
as if from sleep, trying to swat her away, but shame,
she’s got a windbreaker on and even though it won’t fully stop
the cold, it at least pretends to bump it off like a bulty-guy.

Too late, the viewfinder drops out of her hands.
Too late, the sky spins through the last twenty years.
All the times she hooks at islands, gets herself instead
making love to the somewhere she worries the years won’t build.




Finally, after a few too many years on the margins
my face will move canoes backwards
and forwards over your buckets of bolts
and shake me, bb. 

A cyclone of eyes rushes through our township,
but it’s what it always was; vulnerable, unable
to stop itself whistling on wavy tin roofs.

Most people love to run themselves ragged
by the pink of their talk-meat, dragging
hacked eel heads through the creeks
we carry.

With the cellulite of a troubled mountain, our thighs
are scrunched between us and a chair – so you sit
at the edge of me, snapping roots
from pine trees, thrown up at a foggy
chafed evening.

Let this love
last as long as a switchboard face sizzles in rain
then short circuits everyone else’s building. We don’t
have long to go until the end grabs our ass and we moan
at the crash of gutted computers thrown out on the lawn.

We’d swap boats
if we weren’t still fixing holes with sinnet nests we reuse
to wash our auagas but, where the dream parts we scrape
off soapy skin and warp fluently in cloud water.

Lush as free shipping
the carpet pulls us as the floor starts to ripple and we
take our rock for granted. Can we not pretend we
have the end of the world sussed when we
keep sinking through floors without a condom, babes.

We warn guillotines
yet, still hunt in foreign bodies for the last
catch of ourselves, catching each other
always desperate to cum 1st.

Rainbow’s End


We each had to sell ten booklets of bonus tickets
so we could all go to the world’s largest theme
park just out South. When we got there,
everyone wore white matching r.i.p shirts: aunties,
uncles, and cousins waddled towards the log flume
like a mass of sun-blanched Teletubbies.

The line wasn’t too long but we were rowdy enough
to double it or so the bodies around us seemed to say
clearing their throats and stood rigid like dried
paintbrushes with paint still stuck on,
pretending not looking
was still looking away.

No one complained that the sun was an orange
rotting in the corner of a fogged fruit drawer; mushed
on the sides but overly sweet when cut open.
We spread our arms wide, trying to catch le lā
dripping down our faces, our forearms, onto the ground.
We got to the front of the line before one of us cried out.

Once we were bobbing gently in the logs, it didn’t
matter if we talked loudly or cackled like fire,
the crackling husk of our laughter was drowned
by the ticking rails and regurgitated water pulling us
up through the tunnels of a mountain. This was an awa
we could always ride without any worry we’d return. 

In our little va‘a, we passed layers of untouchable greens
and impressionable blues. Even the curtain of a waterfall
drew aside for us to enter another pō without the drama.
If only the ride wasn’t just us leaving one darkness so we could row
past more impossible suns, always arriving at the next cave
realising we were headed there all along together, alone, without her.


Amber Esau (Ngāpuhi / Manase) likes to poet. A professional procrastinator from Tāmaki Makaurau, she has been published both in print and online and is the recipient of a Michael King Writers Centre residency, 2023.