A Sad Administration of Circuitous Documents


Stones, too, have their own way of knowing
so that preverbal perception
is already an exchange.
To touch the leaf of a plant 

is to feel oneself touched by the plant.
In light of this, I write a sentence
for the kawakawa tree
outside the office window: 

Staying late at work,
I’ve made myself into
a sad administration of
circuitous documents. 

In homage to the artist Julia Teale
I, too, will have my ashes
placed in an urn printed with
Edvard Munch’s scream 

and installed in the lobby
of my former employer.


Author’s note: This poem uses quotations from The Spell of the Sensuous: Perception and Language in a More-Than-Human World by David Abram, Vintage Books, 1997, p. 49 and p. 52.


Erena Shingade (Pākehā) lives in Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland. She is a graduate of the Seagull School of Publishing, Kolkata, and holds an MA in Poetry.