Poetry Shelf Occasional Poems: Kay Mckenzie Cooke’s ‘trickster’


Just little things, like endless rain,
the spilt milk, parcels
left behind, newly-bought necessities
disappearing, a waiter forgetting an order
and not being able to find our way
out of Blenheim.

Was it coyote, Bugs Bunny, Loki,
Maui, a leprechaun, a fox, a crow,
Pippi Longstocking, Puck,
or Anansi? Might the trickster have been
my father being a monkey
(his animal sign in the Chinese zodiac)

making me leave my handbag behind
on the top of the hill at the war memorial
in Seddon? A town I will forever associate
with Fay & Peter’s tin sleep-out,
a passionfruit vine, the cabbage train, yellow shoes
and three men: Joe the sullen, Paul the optimistic

and born-again Max. Perhaps the last hand
played was the missed call from Liz in Ashburton
just as we were leaving that dusty town.
But the pick of them all, the high winds
thrashing trees near Hinds, the hint of home
still just a trick of light on the road ahead.

Kay McKenzie Cooke

Kay McKenzie Cooke (Kai Tahu, Kati Mamoe) lives in Otepoti and is slowly working towards a fifth poetry collection, as yet un-named. 

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