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Published: Tue Jul 1 2008
Wosene Worke Kosrof, The Inventor V (detail), 2022, acrylic on linen. Courtesy of Sullivan Goss Gallery, Santa Barbara, California
Kindness

Evening light the colour of olive oil
poured from a high jug:
streaming over the back of the burnished
cricket riding its bowing grass stem;
glossing the spade with its broken
handle, leaning on the strainer-post that is itself
leaning, its crumbly lichen glowing,
the wire tired and slack; pooling
on the surface of the leylandii stump,
with its surround of buttery chips
from inexpert swipes of the axe.

Light is light, it is not kindness,
but if kindness had a colour, perhaps
it would be this—yes, you turn away
impatiently, yet it’s you who cannot
bear to crush a snail; who once, in heavy
traffic, abandoned the car, and in tears strode
to a maimed pukeko that fluttered beside
the wide road; you who killed that bird
with a swing and a crack—

stay with me, as the light goes
from gold, to grey, to black.

Tim Upperton’s poetry and fiction have appeared in AGNI, Bravado, Dreamcatcher, Landfall, New Zealand Books, New Zealand Listener, North & South, Reconfigurations, Sport, Takahe, Turbine, and Best New Zealand Poems 2008. He is a former poetry editor for Bravado, and tutors creative writing, travel writing and New Zealand literature at Massey University, New Zealand. His first poetry collection, A House On Fire, was published by Steele-Roberts in 2009. (updated 7/2009)

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