[Previously published in Landfall 227)
Haere mai, Aroha.
Is that your true name?
It ripples like spirits over my tongue and onto
where I will gift you one hundred kina
every day, even though the limit is fifty,
where I will scrub your soles with pumice
and soak them in salt after your morning runs
I will pout when you tap-tap-tap your toes
and jiggle my hinu, yet chase you breathlessly across
where driftwood shrines
will whistle your name at every bend
and assemble your likeness for pilgrims
where I will carve you into
the shell of my heel so that you too may feel
the granules of memory that scrunch underfoot
blend with whanaunga
and tremble within your womb
That must be your name!
It devours me like Tangaroa
as I welcome you to my shores.