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aimee-jane anderson-o'connor, essa may ranapiri & loren thomas

how we drown

We throw boiled water out the bedroom window
with a coin, a pin,
your mother’s engagement ring
that she paid for
and kept when she left him


Grandma said it was bad luck to wash in the same water
but we bathed one after another
let our dead skin cells lap each other’s toes
the devil sneaks in our bed sheets
kisses our cheeks
like mother used to


We were amoebic meningitis at the bottom of geothermal pools
in Taupo,
a baby tooth in the bottom of the diving pool,
the swoon of Tangaroa’s energy
sitting heavy in the basement of the world


We swam through wash pots of last week’s bath water
and were a fountain spewing up wet


Existent particles
hold breath on the past
bleed wine from our rafts
lies dart upstream
little blue in the big swell
swept chunk out in the current
thread your tears in your pillowcase
use them to float


I’m scared the droplets on my face
will drown me like bacteria
I will not swim

the heat of an animal leaking

draw hot vials of alphabet • from the marrow • and use it to wet the ground • this blood will wilt roses • shrivel pumpkin seeds • blunt steel • a singing knife to take it out of me • find a vein • turn wine to vinegar • leaden at the end • of the mosquito’s proboscis • its wings as fine as new testament leaf • flitter as it takes • the relationship of a family tree • and waters it down • a simple exchange

they pass for warm fat worms digging in an ocean of flesh • no oxygen • no stakes • bathe me in it • give me youth for at least three more virgin years • a heart from a satanist handbook • menstrual drone in the hollow • you are a circulation • the moon sickles to • what a rotation

i remember my dad’s hands • i remember his hands • bursting blood blisters on the kitchen counter • the hep c ever present • i prayed for him • i prayed for him not to touch me • i prayed to become like a statue become like a branch beyond reach

but i am not a tree and this stream • is all of me • a movement from red blood cells to blue

Aimee- Jane Anderson-OConnor, essa may ranapiri and Loren Thomas are three poets living and writing in Kirikiriroa. They are very passionate about the potential of collaboration in poetry and are working on a long-form project that seeks to interrogate superstition and proverb in regards to the construction of cultural identity.

They say: ‘For these pieces, we decided upon the central subjects of water and blood. Drawing upon our personal associations, as well as collective myth, we threw our ideas at a shared document, not stopping for sense or censor. A single mind took responsibility for editing each piece, looking to find the rhythm in the work, while maintaining the multiple pulses beating in each one.