Hinemoana Baker – Rope
He roped me, he roped me twice the second time
it caught, fell at the right angle and landed around the bones
of my dress. He roped me from the East like light rising, from the
West like light falling, in the arrangement of his cutlery,
the bubbling land moving on its plates. Without words
or entertainment and without true silence he
roped me in the mud, in the kind of mud people call sucking,
or stinking, it sticks to one’s body, one’s feathers and folds.
I couldn’t bear the thought of soup or vast pastures, he roped me
without heart or dancing, when he called me his wriggly little girl.
It was like freezing, when he roped me, I watched a thousand
doors clap shut in the clouds. He roped me and began to pull,
in spite of his own injuries, and I allowed him to be lonely.
With a shovel I buried the turquoise feathers, warm from the sun,
winter in the blood. In my mind I wrote letters to all those I’d
wronged, I want to be buried with a family resemblance.
Note: This poem takes its recurring motif, and the first words of the penultimate line, from the novel Winter in the Blood by Blackfeet writer James Welch (Penguin, 2008).