an Aotearoa poetry journal | ISSN 2744-3248

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Tarot #07
Tarot #06
Tarot #05
Tarot #04
Tarot #03
Tarot #02
Tarot #01

Nest Imperatives

It is scientifically controversial to say
that birds are born with the innate knowledge
            of how to build a nest.

Apparently it is trial and error
nesting and nesting in wrong places
with wrong materials until some arrangement
            makes a home.

An imperative. Like other things.
There are the other things
that are imperatives too.

I have hit my head on the walls of lifts
and on drawer handles. I have used scalpels,
pencil sharpeners, pinking shears, vodka.

Unfortunately I have to.
Like settling in the crook of a branch,
not knowing what you’re making,

your wings fluted like gills, calamus
spread open like a hand made of spines.
These things we can’t explain or stop.

Skin opens up like the neck of a prickling cat.
Options everywhere—moss, scissors,
sticks, glass, needles, leaves.

I have only ever wanted
a home. I have only ever wanted
to know what to do.