for Hone Tuware
They dug her up in Queen Street.
A fossilised colonial woman clutching a parasol,
stiff and rigid in her flannel frock.
Pince-nez clay encrusted on the bridge
of her nose, she was pointed toward
Alexandra Park, English settler fashion
when the pneumatic bursts shattered the
ear-bone. A couple of spades and they wedged
her out of the mould (intact)
and leaned her against the side of a
Kenworth and then broke for a smoke -
propped there as though to advertise it.
She was carbon dated 1863, and by the salt stains
on her handkerchief (tucked under the sleeve)
she had either been crying or spending
too much time with the boys down at the
Whaling Station. Records failed to prove this.
One thing remained a mystery to authorities:
the stake, or rather, surveyor's peg
driven through the breast bone, attested
to an acquisitive quarrel over which
were her rights, and which weren't?
[A video poem of The Find can be seen by clicking HERE.]
[from Night of Warehouses: Poems 1978-2000]