LateHW today: a poem by Kayla Tostevin.
"I wrote this on vacation almost two years ago. The (non)relationship didn’t ultimately work out the way I wanted it to, so it sounds a little foolish in some ways now, knowing what would actually happen when I returned from New Zealand. But this poem captured my feelings well at the time, so it’s got that kind of photographic importance to it" -KT
"Interlude in Northern New Zealand"
I lost the bottom of my stomach
somewhere on the familiar side
of the Pacific—somewhere
in yesterday, since this island exists
eighteen hours ahead of you and the us
you left up in the air again. So I filled
the extra space with lantern festival
lights from paper dragons furious
and fragile, with the untranslated
stamping roar of the Maori war dance
haka, with the rumbling ocean toss
of great surfacing whales, and with
an unseasonable wind that screamed
all through tomorrow night.
Hours after your sunset, I accepted
a cup of something sweet and hot
and orange enough to be sunrise
in the black Waitomo caves, icy water
pouring through a hole in my boot,
tiny worm-made stars pricking the dark,
everything smelling like old rock
and isolation, and this drink
was the only part of the tour the guide
did not tell us the name for, but
I recognized it settling in my gut.
All my souvenirs except that one
spilled out and shattered
on some Auckland sidewalk,
and cicadas crawled in, buzzing
their shrill, surging electricity.
They carried the uncertain kind
of certainty that washed over me
when I jumped off a bridge tied
to my ankles. On my way back
to winter covered in sunburns,
on my way home to yesterday,
time-shaken, I found the lost
bottom of my stomach and pressed
it into place, trapping the insistent
insects and the drinkable sun, saving
them for the next time we talk about us.
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