Iain Britton


So Sunday comes to this --
mothers of the world unite.
You have opened your arms
your hearts your legs
to the fathers of the world
and you have been fruitful.

Passing the Cluny Convent
a nun is sitting in the sun
hands clasped the spitting
image of her father
hanging in the sky. One nun
is searching the garden
for nails bones bits of wood
a footprint a cloth with a face
snapped into it. One nun is
smiling at the letter box.

Everything is holy.

A mother pushes her baby
on wheels towards the post office
fails to see the condom in the gutter
curled up small and puckered
This mother knows
what itšs like to give birth
to something shinier than an apple.

At Orakei a woman
lies half buried in the ground
her hair a tangle of trees
her body
plates of basalt
her toes gangrenous
in the sea.

She takes in the dead
who drop with shadows
through holes in her skin
and at night
like a regenerative plant
she coughs them up again
in bursts of wind.

I have no qualms about being
beside the latest mother to roll off
the assembly line or recommending her
to the latest batch of fathers.

When she speaks there is silence
and the whole world listens
and orchards shine.

Location: Auckland, New Zealand
Occupation: Director of Maori Studies at King's School
Email: i.britton@kings.school.nz
Publications: Manifold, Links, Iota and Orbis, and Slope, The Drunken Boat, Conspire, Jacket, Tinfish, Free Verse, Carillon, etc.

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