Poetry Shelf Monday poem: Jessie Puru’s ‘Milk’

Milk

Gumboots squelch across the paddock
it’s still dark and she’s making her way
over to the milking shed
a coat covers her to her knees
and tents over her growing belly

I imagine her working like normal
using her knees to lift
to carry the bucket home for breakfast
creamy milk, unpasteurised
perfect for porridge

trek back across the paddock, Tama-nui-te-rā
has begun to poke his head above the horizon
to warm the back of her
her belly starts to stir
then greet her with a few kicks

then she can get ready for her job
at the shop in town
or the mill,
whichever came first
and clean or cook
right up until the very due date

that week she will have her first girl
at eighteen
and a few years and girls later
she will marry down at the courthouse

then years later she will have 13 grandchildren
of course she will have favourites
and she will continue to work
and work and work
right up until the very last minute

and Tama-nui-te-rā will greet her
one last time
then farewell her not long after

*

her heels click across the footpath
it’s dusk and she’s making her way
a few streets over to the bus stop
a coat covers her to the ankles
it tents over her entirely

 

Jessie Puru

 

 

Jessie Puru, Ngāti Te Ata, Tainui,Ngā Puhi, is a Māori/ Pākeha poet and mother of one daughter living in Auckland. Her work has been published in Ika, Blackmail Press, Landfall, Poetry (US), and she was runner up for the Emerging Poets Competition in 2019. Jessie is currently working on her first collection of poems following the life of a young wāhine trying to find her connection with Te Ao Māori. She also has a Bachelor of Creative Arts from MIT and Master of Creative Writing degree from AUT.

 

 

 

 

 

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