In the kingdom of artificial autumn
where the trees make footfall there is a scar,
the work of heat and clearfelling.
Southern promises in green have slowly over summer
turned deciduous from that hasty surgery.
We had the bushfire months ago.
Scraps of cordon tape dance alongside new bracken.
Charcoal helpfully delineates a black-box amphitheatre
that hosts rehearsals
but not yet the full performance of life.
In the wings, a picnic bench was saved by cutting
many branches and in this red nest
two kids too young to be lovers
sit in the quiet way they have seen adults do.
She has an oxygen tube tucked under her septum.
She smiles with her whole body.
They are rulers of the narrow realm,
a place not of death or of growth.
Behind their backs a red strip runs down the hillside.

scar tissue on the hills of Upper Hutt

Maidstone Park fire, seen from the north


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