In the summer centre, the island on a limb,
the sun swelts the volcanic earth mixed
with sand pushed up out of the sea. Manuka
thrives, pink and white flowers speckle
the near horizon. Beneath blackened boughs
are deep pools of shade we dive into, a relief
to skin and hot-flushed mind—such abundance,
such hunger for contrasts given in plenty.
Flashes of silver, consumed by hunting eyes,
somersault above the net, caught on our stage.
The show, put on by the escapees, drags us
from all over, as the watery world shrinks;
the curtain drawn by long-shorted, dripping,
wielders of the rope. At the wings, they hurl
their catch of spike-nosed piper onto the beach
in a rolling crescendo of pebbles and fish.
The southern wind edges the waves
moving across the bay; white lines of static flicker
and vanish: a jumpy picture of turquoise-blue
blotted with shadows from dampened clouds above.
Amidst the froth and crests of roughening seas
birds in the distance race to a haven
at the north end of Tokerau Beach, where the sands
curve behind the rocks marked by Maui’s net.
The setting sun, like a cut blood-orange,
bleeds out over the distant hills. The beauty,
this time, is in the far view and the silhouette.
In front of the lamp the Manuka are scissored.
The shape of things distracts from mosquitoes
at my ankles. We forget that we are prey
often enough to believe in a moments bliss,
ale in hand, crunching chips and dip.