NEAR MERCER

It was that stretch of State Highway One near
Mercer where it ducks in conspirationally
to share some gossip with the Waikato River
when there was a rifle-crack of something
hitting the windscreen, and startled, you stopped
the car and picked up the young, stunned kingfisher,
a kōtare, gem-winged, more daring than deft,
coruscating and breathing still, wrapped in your scarf.
You were so upset, intent on taking it home
to nurse back to health; by the time we got
to Meremere it had recovered and we released it,

a flash of damask jade fire for a moment, and off!
Over the smooth, silk bolt of Old Man Waikato,
lost in the sun’s stare; these fingers that touched
the flow of death ever passing until it doesn’t.

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