Poetry Shelf connections: Michelle Elvy’s ‘Kia ora’


Kia ora

for my mother


I remember the brooch you always wore

I remember it most of all

tiny fragments, blue dust

glinting on your breast

my hand reaching to touch


I recall the call of the song sparrow

I recall it most vividly of all

the squeech-squeech-trill

moving through sunlight

stopping on our sill


I can see the maple in our yard

I can see it best of all

its smooth  grey skin

planted in thin slanting soil

a young towering thing


Or was it a pendant?

A warbler? A white oak?

My memories, round

and flawed, you

across oceans and continents


It’s autumn in Dunedin

sunrise, cool and misty


the brooch            the pendant

the sparrow          the warbler

the maple              the oak


Michelle Elvy



Michelle Elvy is a writer, editor and manuscript assessor. She grew up in the Chesapeake Bay region of the US and now makes her home in Dunedin. She edits at Flash Frontier: An Adventure in Short Fiction and Best Small Fictions, and she chairs National Flash Fiction Day. Recent anthology projects include Bonsai: Best small stories from Aotearoa New Zealand (CUP 2018) and Ko Aotearoa Tātou | We Are New Zealand (OUP 2020). Michelle’s poetry, fiction, travel writing, creative nonfiction and reviews have been widely published. Her book, the everrumble (Ad Hoc Fiction 2019), is a small novel in small forms. michelleelvy.com






Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s