Day of the Quake
It shakes her voice as she tells me
the course will be cancelled, people
will be reached, a new date scheduled.
I imagine those sheer scarps shuddering
the darkness at 4:35 am, disorientation
fear, the getting out, getting into the street.
It shakes out all the carefully nurtured certainties.
And has a tsunami broken the news all along
the eastern coast? To Pacific Islands, already sinking?
The train I'm on in Auckland sings a high-pitched
worker's whistle. I sing along, back in my throat
wary of other travellers' views of good behaviour.
Every suburb has its extinct volcano, once a pa,
now remembered for more recent explosions
of a territorial kind. Green, lumpy, they preside.
Always the ground shifts under our feet
unexpected, unwanted, unsettling. The train
is driven by diesel, from the back. We rock.