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Nicola Easthope

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The table took up most of the room –

round oak top, four solid legs curved

at the knee. It must have been brought in


legless, torso rolled through three doors

like a cartwheel. The surface was too good

to be seen. Tablecloths changed weekly –


fawn linen shot with silk, or fine-weave cotton

in wine, dried honesty in the centre.

Four placemats of Heaphy’s early Wellington:


cows at the lapping water, kaumātua

greeting the Company, waka and barque

filling the harbour. At dinner, we raced the food


off our plates – corned, mashed, grilled,

glazed – our eyes on the far corner

where the television sat, a heavy mystic


in static dust. Are you being served,

The Onedin Line, Betty at The Rovers

fed our taste by osmosis. From split-

level dining to lounge, our tongues erased.


Nicola Easthope’s first collection of poetry leaving my arms free to fly around you, was published by Steele Roberts in 2011. Her second manuscript, Working the Tang, is currently being iced and candled. Life would be a lot more stressful without Dilmah tea, rice milk, bananas and Brazil nuts.


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