The Friday Poem: ‘In the 1960s an Influx of Māori Women’ by Tayi Tibble

New verse by Tayi Tibble, who was awarded the prestigious Adam Prize at Victoria University’s IIML this week.

 

In the 1960s an Influx of Māori Women

 

Move to Tinakori Road in their printed mini dresses.

Grow flowers on white stone rooftops to put in their honeycomb vases.

Dust the pussy-shaped ashtray their husbands bought on vacation in Sydney.

Walk to Kirkcaldie and Stains while their husbands are at work.

Spend their monthly allowance on a mint-green margarita mixer.

Buy makeup at Elizabeth Arden in the shade too pale pink.

Buy vodka and dirty magazines on the way home from the chemist.

Hide the vodka and dirty magazines in the spare refrigerator in the basement.

Telephone their favourite sister in Gisborne.

Go out to dinner with their husbands and dance with his friends.

Smile at the wives who refuse to kiss their ghost-pink cheeks.

Order dessert like pecan pie but never eat it.

Eat two pieces of white bread in the kitchen with the light off.

Slip into an apricot nylon nightgown freshly ordered off the catalogue.

Suffocate with their husband’s blue-veined arms corseting their waists.

Remember the appointment they made to get their hair fixed on Lambton Quay.

Think about drowning themselves in the bathtub instead.

Resurface with clean skin, then rinse and repeat.

 

Tayi Tibble, 2017


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