(Inspired by Tomaž Šalamun’s poem, ‘History’)
Ioana is a queen
knocked off the checkers by a pawn.
She sleeps by day and walks by night, the nightcrawler,
blue and mysterious.
She is Mystique, shapeshifting, people don’t recognise her.
Ioana rides Northland’s asphalt waves, splashing tar, carving far.
Sandy to Woolley’s, the sharks bite at every corner,
it’s a Slice of Life.
She swims with mermaids in the pools and with whales at the bay.
Extended family holidays are a Slice of Heaven,
singing Dave Dobbyn up the laundry chute.
Playing spies. I spy.
Reading hour is cuzzie hour, is weaving flax flowers,
extended family photos, immediate family photos, in height order, in age order.
She’s a Kiwi, a flightless bird, on a school trip to Buenos Aires.
Piso or peso? a friend asks her.
Tango dancers, jewellery merchants and merchandise sellers line la calle.
Fileteado dance the walls,
football heroes cover the halls.
She rips weeds from between the cobblestones,
waits for them to grow again,
shoots for 3s, looks up to Steven Adams
spectating Friday night bball.
Her Kobes are anklebreakers.
Ioana smells pungent spices from the curry stall.
She’s hit with acetone fumes from the nail bar
in Takapuna Mall.
Teen dwellers, let off the leash for a day, hunt in packs.
Mini shorts and puffer jackets for survival.
She overhears debates.
They protest, but what for?
News at six, delayed at seven but she isn’t home until eleven.
She will set her alarm for six thirty.
Ioana will eat nutella for breakfast, and this is her history.
Ioana Yule Manoa