Rangitaiki Plains, 1983

By Michael Hall

‘Beat It’

Was No. 1 -

And in gumboots

I’d slumph

Across the paddock

Then the track

To the shed

And while mum

And dad

Finished off

The last row

Or scrubbed

The spattered cups

With their

Ordinary hands

I would

With a comet tail

Of water

Clear

The dark empty yard

Of cow shit.

You are a place in France

Because you are a place in France

I nearly went to because

Because

It was your name

I would have had to have

Taken a train

As the trains are good there

But what would that prove.

And I am not even talking

About love yet.

Michael Hall lives in Dunedin. He was awarded Third Prize in the Poetry New Zealand Poetry Awards 2020 for his poem 'Fencing'.