New verse by Sophie van Waardenberg.
unhatched egg/two girls at easter
we are helping to cut down the trees
they say. we know what the hills will look like
when we have finished. they will have burn scars
like we have on our wrists from clumsiness, from baking.
the dog tastes a hundred empty rabbit holes.
in a rooted place in the shadows in pine needles
we find it, we give it a name out of silence,
we share our hands over it, we pretend to love it
then slowly like it is a grenade I wrap it in my pink shirt.
the land rover rocks us until we belimb onto gravel.
at the farmhouse I listen for a beat
before I let go to her. it carries on like this
and in darkness we drag our chairs across the rocks
to be close to the fire. we are gentle we think.
now that we have saved our bird we make plans for its first winter
and when it cracks
against my belly button I tell nobody, not for a night.
in the morning we two bury the fresh-cut shell by the river
where her parents had their honeymoon
and at hot noon with downy arms we swim there
under trees our failure has grown for us so quickly.
Sophie van Waardenberg, 2017
The Spinoff Review of Books is proudly brought to you by Unity Books, recently named 2020 International Book Store of the Year, London Book Fair.
The Spinoff Weekly compiles the best stories of the week – an essential guide to modern life in New Zealand, emailed out on Monday evenings.