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Cruising the Nile

Mercedes Webb-Pullman


Taniwha live here too.
On sandbanks they lie
jaws akimbo, facing the breezes
while white birds, trochilus,
peck leeches from between their teeth.


We never made taonga axes like that,
peck-peck-pecking at stone.


We spoke of pounamu as a fish
like a shark to be captured and killed.
We harvested stone from its guts.
At first soft, it glowed, and floated.
We carved axes then. Exposed to air,
they hardened.


Whole cities dream beneath the water,
beneath the sands.


People may move a town
but none can move a well.


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