after Ralph Hotere
Lit craquelure old master in ink, coal,
and orange embers, pitched sky lifts
on a blink of wind as the harbour
cradles a last tarred light to echo
inner harbours of shucked paua shell.
Crushed seams of headlights
dance along darkening bitumen.
Birds cross tidal gleams –
blank pupil, scarred void,
barked knuckle bleed,
shipping lane glitter,
deepening night of the soul.
Cadences run through those ripples,
those whispers of depths and spaces,
like sacred thread, te aho tapu,
that the stars can track –
plangent sparkly white
plucked over sonorous chords
of sky-black, solid night-black,
forming like mud amid the ebb-foam
of salt water at Aramoana
to make the harbour
a cracked black mirror,
and its murmur music.