Thursday, 30 June 2011
Train's Water Tank; Orepuki
Once upon a time this water tank was used, not to announce
the existence of a town, but for the steam train
to 'have a drink'. A daily occurence through the weekdays
with the accompanying rub of steam and iron, sounding out
the lowing whistle, the hiss and clang as it moved off,
the rhythm and chug as it rolled on down the line to Tuatapere.
It was a familiar motif running through a town now gone.
As gone as the chewing-gum stained streets, wicker prams,
my sister's cries when the whistle suddenly screamed.
To take the photo today, I stand in heels that sink into soft grass
and I am a ghost among ghosts walking under verandahs, who wait
in line at the Post Office on lino that twinkles with stiletto dents.
A ghost in the ghost of McNay's store where once I held a coconut
all the way from the islands. How solid it felt, how rough and real.
Kay McKenzie Cooke
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