We know you in the surprising bud on an ancient tree,
promise of fruit amongst lichen and frailty.
We know you as awareness sparkling in the eyes
of an almost friend, an old familiar.
We know you in the anticipatory tingle
of a new book by a favourite author.
You are hiding in plain sight
in the translucence of piripiri[i]
in the accidental joys of getting lost in an old city
in a child’s glee at a rude joke
Waiting to be recognised
in music that stamps the feet and pierces the heart
in lyrics so true we ache with recognition
in discovering a jersey we thought we had thrown out
still at the back of a drawer, still ragged, still warm.
You are known to us
as we lift the experimental loaf from oven or bread-maker
and leave it on the rack to cool.
You are with us as we rootle through the messy drawer for the bottle opener
and wash the glasses before our guests arrive
and answer the door in bare feet and our hair still wet.
We know you when we give a foster child their first toothbrush
and a soft toy we’ve knitted, and warm clothes, in
a purple backpack they can keep forever.
We know you when the lady with her life in a shopping trolley, wearing all her clothes
in the summer’s heat, gives a gracious smile and regal wave
when we gesture her to go first, as we rush and she wanders
toward the station and the signs of the crossing.
We know you as the lights change
and as we brake at the chaos of sirens.
You are there
when a hug is all we have to say
in a candle’s sputter and faint vacillating flame
in clean water and soft cloth
in dried blood and Elastoplast
and you are there
where we are
and we know you
in the breaking of the bread.
—bronwyn angela white, Kāpiti (2020)
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 New Zealand License
[i] Hymenophyllum demissum a.k.a drooping filmy fern, irirangi—an Aotearoa New Zealand native fern
Copyright License (CCL): 261070 & Church Streaming License (CSL): 569311