The Friday Poem: “Cellular Hope” by Arihia Latham


A new poem by writer Kāi Tahu and rongoā practitioner Arihia Latham.

Cellular Hope

My boots crush me against the blades of grass frozen by yesterday’s anxieties. I start to ask things to a star and I wonder if it’s a bit titled, a bit whiny. Hiwa i te Rangi, the star most likely to become a celebrity as all our hopes flutter to the edge of the atmosphere like moths at her twinkling promise. We are busy wishing our human needs were met, she probably wishes we were better offspring. But the dreams I have are involuntarily extracted from the mitochondria of my cells and extracted from the chromosomes that I hum along with. Not interstellar but cellular. The hopes I have are dumb.

The stars are rising, a mirage of oil on water, indigo fading to lilac. Hovering below a whispered moon, above the lake; black and breathable. Whakangā, breathe the story of Rākaihautū digging this crater with his kō. I see a figure by the lake and say it must be a statue of him. We climb over the muddy bones of the mountains, exhalation clouding the view until we reach the lapping of the tongue of water. In front of us there is no man but a pile of stones, our laughter doubles as kākahi. Our breath forms clouds, carrying embarrassing feelings of being tourists all alone quandua, slowly evaporating alongside the rising decaffeinated sun.

The Friday Poem is edited by Chris Tse. Submissions are currently closed.

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