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My adopted name


this is not a poem   this is not a poem   this is not a poem   this is not a poem   this is not a poem   this is the wind   this is the wind that scatters lines    this may or may not mean something to an exclusive group who can read lines   who can read lines?   who stops to look at the flowers?   who knows the Māori name?   who knows the scientific name?   who knows their name?   who gave me my name?   what is legal isn’t always right   this isn’t a poem   this is about a flower I didn’t know   this is about growing up   this is about growing into a name    this is about growing into a country   this is not about growing a country   this is personal   hello i’m tauhinu for example   hello tauhinu do you read the wind?   do you read the wind?

First Published "The Friday Poem" The Spinoff (April 2022)

poem with words

A poem with words is not to be trusted


Every word is defined by other words

Take house for instance

And deconstruct it stick by stone

Or build it from H and S and O — 

The sound of howls, and hours

Spent learning strict grammarian rules

—This structure in our cerebral soup

To hold onto like an olfactory memory of

Damp cotton and pink bats in the walls

My house is not your house

Though my windows and doors are open

I try to come in

One word at a time

We might move through rooms

With skeleton keys jangling on closet doors

I try to keep you warm

But I don’t seek warmth; I seek meaning

I taught you language

I learned words

Take house for instance

by Gail and Rata Ingram

First appeared at DWF 2018

Faithful to you, Tarahaka o Kaimatau


Though the clouds fled from your armpits

in spectacular foggy spirals, he gave me red dust


compacted and thrust above the curved earth. Below

I saw the Early Ones warm their hands over fire


offering up babies wrapped in skin and blood;

I saw dingos and camels and dust. When I returned


you showed me the folds of your cloak, tan-gold

hebe-green, slain with purple gashes. I fell among


the prickly matagouri that smelt of pink and tea

and woke in communion with a white gentian.


I stayed with you and named your parts: turpentine,

tussock, scree, kea, karearea, odonata zealandica


who, despite me still, flit incandescent and

irretrievable over the braids of the Deception.


First published Cordite Poetry Review 44


A love story

The walking stick, a fine specimen

looked exactly like a brown stick

of grass on a stalk of brown grass


from there into the car and onto my knee.

I didn’t mean to take him anywhere

near or as far as Kaikoura, but


lucky for the walking stick, we had stopped

at the road end next to a kowhai tree

and a picnic table steeped in long grass


I flicked him out the door,

saw he landed right way up

next to another walking stick


two walking sticks on a grass stalk

like sticks of grass, and I hoped he’d found

the right one.


Equine Connection


swing up slow

drop in

your saddle   feel

the leather ripple

in your palm   connect

to the mouth   the quiet

flickering mind   see

the soft

switching ears listening

to your cluck and pressure

of heel   and feel

the jolt then sway

of motion   the connect

of bone   the swish

of air  

tickle your face  


you laugh

the wind breath

of the horse


Commended 2014 NZPS International Poetry Competition.

First published in Take Back Our Sky NZPS Anthology 2014  

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