Te ‘okianga in e minor


ka ‘oki‘oki koe, ‘ātuitui‘ia koe ki
bones in the soil that grow into flutes
sounding over the waves 

like acapella ‘imene māmās 
bearing down cold hospice hallways
letting the grey lino sing 

in amongst Zoobar exhibitions
‘e toke ‘enua nō ‘enuamanu
circling back over and over 

to where the birds are all piccolo chatter
cymbals crashing like waves
diluted in a two-four IV 

dripping out a solo diminuendo
thrumming through years of GIB callouses
when you press your hands over mine 

words resonate, rhythmless, so I 
press pause on orchestral full motion
watching seven stars rise and wane 

in the harbour, with my ear on the ocean
where the spray tastes of sawdust and cigarettes
listening for your return

Kōwhai / adaptations


we draw and tear open taut brown seed pods
imagining spring bursts of yellow
incandescent spectrum of irritation 

capturing Spring-scapes as digital footprints
tuning up jpeg trees, max saturation
until the leaves are a violent green 

lines enter and exit a natural progression
from Jovi bright sunshine to charcoal grey
smudging out shadows where we fade 

in late night vows we promise
never to kill a witch and take her tinderbox
with eyes as big as saucers 

but in the red light cast by the match I grow
claws sprout, teeth sharpen and awaken
needling words within 

falling like wilted kōwhai blossoms
carpeting damp stretches of footpath
slipping under patent leather shoes


Mereana Latimer (Ātiu, Pākehā, Ngāti Apa / Ngā Wairiki) has had writing appear in Sweet Mammalian, takahē and on stage, with thanks to Prayas Theatre.