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What shall we write on the RAMS form?

Nicola Easthope


The external world is revolving around me, says the child,

while the teacher revolves gently

around the circumference of a larger circle.


Through a drone’s super fish-eye, school would be an amphitheatre

on the margin of a west coast thrust six centimetres north

during the second midnight minute


and if I had one, I might see where Aroha disappeared to

all day since morning briefing and I’m sure I’d see more than one

false start to a brave teen speech, more than one


interjection – boys just wanting

to tautoko their new skipper.

More than one


mad teacher tilting to the sun

drying the face and fissures

of a giddy, sodden skull.


You are getting yourself worked up now.

Yeah, I don’t know how to work myself down.


And what could happen, children?

You could slip off the cliff and die.

You could roll your ankle on rubble.


Rockfall. Rubbish. Don’t take even

a stone. You could get lost.

A weka might steal your lunch.


Shall we role play? Someone

has taken an institutionally large roll

of toilet paper from the common room.


Two others launch it like a kite

and when I point to the beautiful white

ripple high amongst the red-billed gulls


they point to the corner around which

the culprit has run.

Let them run! Some say


ten years

others 60 harvests

or your children’s children’s children


and that’s it. We are boarding a boat

rocking in water, moving irregularly

and swiftly, back and forth in semi-


circular fashion. I am inarticulate

in front of children,

teeth too slack in their jaws


and when the machine

spins in cycles

I separate sound from


motion, commanding all

to duck.



no no, not now.

But you can’t stop a haka

once it’s turning the ground.


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