The Tuesday Poem: ‘Assimilation’ by Tayi Tibble

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

 

Assimilation

they consider

themselves to be

a modern couple

 

they take turns

 

giving

and receiving

oral

 

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

 

or

 

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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