We left camp at Reefton – to the Waitahu –
the single fishable river, still three days after the
rain of logs and boulders had wiped out
the railway bridge at Larry’s – and
run the Coast to mud.
No fish in that river, no gold in
your gumboot pan and by 10am it was hot,
hot, even wading out, hot enough to fly
the Buller Gorge next in a slingshot bucket –
screaming over that high brown water
screaming 34 degrees for lunch at Murchison
and you shaking, saying something
had to go – it was turning
crazy in the sky.
So we took off – past Rotoiti, running
for the evening fish on Tahuna Beach,
the bellowing dark dragon fury smoking
down from the ranges after us, belting out
lightning even as we stood open in the water
yelling at the skies pulling in snapper and
gurnard and shark after shark in the rains
and blood- and bone-breaking thunder.
No one heard us laughing and laughing and laughing
heard you daring it to kill us – even as it
gave us up forever out to sea.
For Rohan Lewis, 6 January 2013