elements by Alexander Te Pohe
content warning: contains references to physical and emotional abuse
three figures of my nightmares
rise from the ocean
waist deep in waves.
the ghosts open their mouths
like fish. sound
each gasp, water pours out.
they waver as water crashes
through them. it tumbles
rubbish to my feet.
i don’t move. the three men
stare at my figure
i stare back, willing
them to make a move
they only sway back,
forth, with each
. for what.
it is locked away. carried in a pelican’s mouth.
left to float in the starlight.
hold many secrets.
there is nothing to say. nothing to say.
we are fine
. everything is. everything.
the key is to smile. a simple twitch of the mouth.
on a windy day i hear echoes of my secrets.
the crack of a belt, a child’s cry.
my own words whoosh past me.
i cannot quite get the words to leave my mouth.
an apology would imply a wrongdoing.
i am a good person. i am
. they all say i am.
it is a cycle: birds are released from me,
they become clouds, everything is fine,
until it isn’t. another bird takes flight.
the hands that held burn
too, i find red fingerprints on myself daily,
your fiery touch
burned generations, a kinda fucked up legacy,
a lightning strike, burning them and me, the embers of your rage
are forever alight
they mingle in the soil with the
worms. sometimes i press my ear
to the dirt to hear them speak
they console me as i cry.
telling me they will
carry my hurt
a little while if i wish.
i stay there for hours
listen. they comfort me,
telling me they believe me.
the hurt i feel is valid.
my land holds memories
generations have passed over it. no-one is
forgotten. no joy or hurt unrecorded.
all is remembered.
that is enough.