He roped me, he roped me twice the second time
it caught, fell at the right angle and landed around the bones
of my dress. He roped me from the East like light rising, from the
West like light falling, in the arrangement of his cutlery,
the bubbling land moving on its plates. Without words
or entertainment and without true silence he
roped me in the mud, in the kind of mud people call sucking,
or stinking, it sticks to one’s body, one’s feathers and folds.
I couldn’t bear the thought of soup or vast pastures, he roped me
without heart or dancing, when he called me his wriggly little girl.
It was like freezing, when he roped me, I watched a thousand
doors clap shut in the clouds. He roped me and began to pull,
in spite of his own injuries, and I allowed him to be lonely.
With a shovel I buried the turquoise feathers, warm from the sun,
winter in the blood. In my mind I wrote letters to all those I’d
wronged I want to be buried with a family resemblance.
Hinemoana Baker is a writer, musician, sound enthusiast and creative writing tutor. She hails from Ngāti Raukawa, Ngāti Toa Rangatira, Te Āti Awa and Ngāi Tahu on her father’s side, and her mother's ancestors are from England and Bavaria. Her first collection of poetry, mātuhi | needle (2004), was released in New Zealand and the United States, and her second, kōiwi kōiwi | bone bone, was launched in July 2010. Her third, waha | mouth, will be published during her 2014 term as Victoria University/Creative New Zealand Writer in Residence at the Institute of Modern Letters.
Baker comments: ‘This poem takes its recurring motif, and the first words of the penultimate line, from the novel Winter in the Blood by Blackfeet writer James Welch (Penguin, 2008).’