We’re entering softer country, he says.
I ease down in to the fluvial new – small hills, toetoe,
their clumps of reddish plumes held-light.
Gone, the places we’d pitched and stiffened –
hard roads of gravel, stone – coming to sheer
drop-offs inside each other. Gone Herbertville,
Porangahau, Blackhead beach, Kai Rākau,
the tides revealing their scripts each day
and winds at the river’s end cold as the word
‘tumour’. Gone Mangakuri, its visible reefs.
We’re entering softer country now – small hills, grapes.
I want to ride their cadence all the June-day long,
like the song before a fugue I can’t listen to.