Photo: Getty Images
Photo: Getty Images

BooksMay 3, 2024

The Friday Poem: ‘Mātou’ by Tessa Keenan

Photo: Getty Images
Photo: Getty Images

A poem by Tessa Keenan, from AUP New Poets 10.


These days we are a photograph;
one of a farm
strewn with cows that used to be
bright harakeke or swamp.

The kids point at it
and say the sun sits
behind a smudge (left by
someone at Christmas);
the water turned hot that day:
in the bottom right-hand corner,
a trough sparkles
to prove it.

Across the fields there is a mountain.
Beyond that, the city we live in.
(We were driving up a road we’d never been on
when Dad told Mum to stop.

He opened the car door
and walked up to a nearby fence.

I don’t know what,
or who, told him
he was in the right place:
the weight of trying to remember
often gets you lost

but he pointed at the grass, turned back to us,
and yelled
‘this is your tupuna!’)


AUP New Poets (Auckland University Press), featuring Tessa Keenan, romesh dissanayake and Sadie Lawrence, will be published on 9 May.

The Friday Poem is edited by Chris Tse. Submissions are currently closed.

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