wade through the house — the years
come up to their waists, some days
the years come up to their shoulders
floating photographs from the mantel —
dead and living lit by the same light —
and when the years are thickest,
you imagine Mamie, Mémère —
as woodsmoke spreads like milk in the morning air —
push off and gently swim from room to room
because you know it’s not like that — time
wrecks their knees and bends their backs, and
when the years rise high enough to carry them,
the years will carry them away.
‘At Angey’, from Birds of Europe (Victoria University Press, 2000), © Andrew Johnston 2000, used by permission of the author. Recording from the Aotearoa New Zealand Poetry Sound Archives 2004, supplied by the Braeburn Studios.