Love’s echo

Hana Pera Aoake

Mouth full of ulcers

Ice shards in the library

Dreams of swimming in pools

Following straight black lines forever

Part fish, part amphibian

Daughter of Tangaroa

Skin laced with mucous

Like a snake birthing eggs by choking them out through its mouth

Like an embryonic calf falling to the ground

Struggling to stand up

Static down my back

Waking up in a birthing pod

As a simulation, organism, vibration

Ancestry tests stealing my DNA and selling it to big pharma

I want a boy to perform a haka for me

The height of romance

Myopically dystopian

The politics of disappointment

Too little and too much sleep

Learning through the skin

Acts of decolonisation

Disappointment, error, imperfection

Rāhui on everything

Wheezing breath, fluid rupturing my lungs

Swirling around and tightening and strangling my chest

My waiwhero comes and flows back into Papatūānuku

When I smile I have too many teeth

He used to say I looked like

Julia Roberts, an American sweetheart

Me, a New Zealand sweetheart

Dreams of saving a family friend from drowning in my Kirwan Kudas togs aged eight

Sweating in cold water

Scraping our feet on the concrete pool floor

Rusty nails ripping through tendons

I will survive by Gloria Gaynor plays on the bus

I use a placenta serum with a picture of a sheep on it by a brand called ‘Merino’ written in gold cursive

I want to be 100% pure New Zealand

Colonial monuments that reveal and conceal

Aotearoa is a limitless space

Potency is an energy, an ungovernable body

Plural, infinite

New Zealand is the orange bubbling

Limited always by the impossibility of undoing the past

Singular, finite

My body feels like a protest

An act of deviance,

A difference that can never be reconciled

By existing I will continue to be heard

In my ngākau, a taniwha stirs

Waikato green

My āhua glows

The kawakawa is different here

Waikato green

Less holes, more distinct lines

Fumbling up into the ribcage

Sharp pains

Cracking open the eggshells

A poi swings like an umbilical cord


Perpetually in motion

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