The door hangs still so long its hinges rust. No voices, just bird calls punctuating the vacant air: kaka’s morning whistle, kawau’s midnight cries.
The old valve radio flickers to life then dies, sits silent, brooding.
Dust settles, dishes pile up in the sink. No one to clean for, not one child to open a jar for, not even some sad sack to comfort and cook for.
My hands seek the warm flesh of a lover, the close embrace of a friend, the familiar feel of family, then fold inward on each other’s sorrow.
I stand on the back steps, stare down the wind. A dark band of cloud descends.
Restless birds land on open ground, bicker, break out in raucous squabbles; a hawk picks over a rabbit’s remains.
Night falls early. Meteors meld mid-flight. I hear the rustle of the earth turning, feel the onward surge of water flowing to the coast.
From every seeping, trickling, dribbling, leaching, molecule of matter: water dripping, channelled in rivulets, streams, gullies, rivers, out to the open sea.
I wake to the whisper of nine bright sisters in the predawn sky. A thin sliver of moon hangs between two shining planets, tracking a line to the eastern horizon.
My heart stirs at the solstice, subtle shifts prick, change is afoot. Out of the wintry earth, new shoots, green koru, tight-sprung, ready to unfurl.
Deborah Jowitt lives in Parua Bay, Tai Tokerau/Northland. Birds, wind, and weather are constants of the local seascape and often find their way into her writing. Flash is her favourite medium for exploring the world and the ways we respond to it.
Published in Flash Frontier, July 2022: AWA