Hanging clips

BooksAugust 21, 2018

The Tuesday Poem: ‘Assimilation’ by Tayi Tibble

Hanging clips

All week this week we present new verse, to celebrate National Poetry Day on Friday. Today’s poet: Tayi Tibble of Kelburn.



they consider

themselves to be

a modern couple


they take turns



and receiving



they split the bills

evenly and they share

the chores but


when he brings in

the washing

he leaves the pegs

all over the ground


he doesn’t bother to

pick them up

and put them back

into the basket


and she considers this to be

culturally insensitive


and as progressive

as they are

she can’t help


but think about

potatoes and muskets

disease-ridden blankets

surveyors and preachers


and how many Māori girls

ended up on their knees

in order to erect

this modern nation


she sighs

and rolls her eyes

like a tiny haka


as she pulls the last

remaining peg embedded

in the mud with the last

of her mana


she could either lick them clean

with the sponge of her tongue




plunge them back into the earth’s

dark wet cunt. Let her husband pick them up.

From the best-selling collection Poūkahangatus by Tayi Tibble (Victoria University Press, $20),  available at Unity Books.

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