Poetry Shelf Monday Poem: Stacey Teague’s ‘family name’

family name

After Kaveh Akbar

1.

find the legitimate.
part of the skin.
claim it or.
don’t claim it my.
bad exchange.
my pale belonging the.
way the word.
identity makes you.
spit.
what’s in there.  
the visible
thing curled.
in the mouth.
exact like biting.
the blood.
speaks the quantum.
splits.
my favourite.
colour is white.
-passing.

2.

my cousins and I don’t.
have any.
brothers we don’t know.
about men don’t.
want to.
we connect at the.
colour of bruises.
open our drinks view.
pain as an ash-like.
diminishing.
we can imagine.
a sudden deep optimism.
in the face of utter.
calamity.
I will devote myself.
to its water.
develop a silken.
empathy.
harm is better.
dismantled.

3.

make me a weaver.
I will wait.
to stop bleeding.
to harvest.
the flax in my.
backyard cut.
away from the. 
heart at an. 
angle scrape off. 
the skin with a. 
shell my ancestors. 
also waited.

4.

to be on an earth.
that turns is to.
exist around crisis.
like looking into.
a non-human eye.
my visions are alive.
with me like an.
empress I.
untouch the insides.
I make something.
fit that does.
not want to.

Stacey Teague

Stacey Teague (Ngāti Maniapoto, Ngāpuhi) is a poet, editor, and teacher living in Te Whanganui-a-Tara.

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