Poetry Shelf Monday poem: Michaela Keeble’s ‘all the eels’

all the eels


we took the chook fat
to the creek
spooned the gloopy food
into the shallow wash

soon you came out to us

twenty or fifty of you
showed your teeth
and snapped at wooden spoons

fifty or more of you
thrusting up the creek
to claim the fat

with your single
perfect muscles
like dancers’ thighs
you never hurt us


does it help
to be specific?


to build the road
they have to leash the river

drain the swamps
stop the banks
build the bunds

they redirect the water

in come the ecologists
to fish the tuna
trapped in sediment

jet black skins
eyes blue like humans

tuna tall as me
tall as you


all the amphibians
and all the birds
who travel beneath
and all the eels

certain kinds of water snake
gannets and shags
and all the eels

from all the hidden places
at the margins of everything

and all the eels

Michaela Keeble

Michaela Keeble is a white Australian writer living in Aotearoa with her partner and kids. Michaela’s first full-length collection of poetry, surrender, was published by Taraheke | BushLawyer in May 2022. She has a children’s book, co-authored with her son Kerehi Grace and illustrated by Tokerau Brown, forthcoming from Gecko Press in 2023. Watch out for Paku Manu Ariki Whakatakapōkai

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 )

Twitter picture

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

Facebook photo

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

Connecting to %s