Wednesday’s child grew from the earth fully formed and raw,
tiny fingers curled into palms until perfect nails tore away ribbons of skin.
she was a beer-drinker’s daughter and another father’s burden and then,
layered in sunscreen, he named the mountains and rivers for her,
marked her growth with his hands
and the heartbeat of the land that is full in his heart and inked on his back.
Tangata whenua, t a n g a t a w h e n u a. Aoraki, A o r a k i.
she spells out each letter, carving the words into her journal.
Starry bees in her hair, a field of seaspray,
and her freckles so soft.
when her other father dies, she pretends like he never was
but at night, Wednesday’s child cries and
claws at her hands until perfect nails tear away ribbons of skin.
The beer drinker doesn’t know what to say, and he just stands there.
Her world is too soft, tastes bottle green.
She’s not a child anymore, but she is a child and
how could he do this to her?
She wants to scream, and the beer drinker wants to tell her
how much he loves her. Instead,
they watch the sun set over Mount Cook together,
and neither of them say a word.