painted bus shelter; Dunedin
on the back of a horse,
cut quite a figure.
When my great-grandfather
first saw her, suddenly
the trees bent sideways,
the dark nights, billows of fern,
rain, all made sense. Her face
followed him, her neck, as soft
as a cloud. He knew then
why he'd left London,
his home, his parents. He knew
he would have sons, grow a garden
full of cabbages and silver-beet.
He was the song and dance man
his bones buried in this foreign soil
he made home. Two of his sons too,
buried away from their home country,
killed in a war their father never knew
His widow and daughter in the end
left to keep the garden going,
feed the hens.
learned to live on, waiting,
never looking back,
you can see it written deep
in the only photograph we have,
the one on the wall,
her eyes knowing, following
your every move.
Kay McKenzie Cooke