Return to Mercedes Webb-Pullman

East Cape

Mercedes Webb-Pullman


One road only joins these settlements,
curls of cabins, yellow sand and teal surf
strung like beads; between them,
tree-covered hills where work crews
set out orange witch-hats, barriers, signs.
Traffic, held up both ways,
moves slowly, alternately, on
one lane only. I have time
to open the window; a gust of warm air
tastes of ocean salt and sun-warmed pines,
recalls childhood’s timeless paradise.
I hear waves beat, keening gulls, kids
laughing as they ride by on shaggy ponies,
gumbooted feet in stirrups, towel capes flapping
as they clop down the road edge
chased by others on foot, all going
for a swim. Beside each driveway
green cable snakes poke from the ground,
ultra-fast broadband, bringing all the benefits
of civilisation; self-involved games, sad silences,
unheard conversations, kitten pictures,
kiddie porn, identity theft; every crashed connection
of modern life.


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