the transit of mercury

                                                   |  we
is not a word that comes naturally to me  |  more sputum than breath  |  an emotion of leaking  |  i feel like a single digit  |  straining with a second  |  nothing so romantic  |  as a collective identity  |  collected the different parts of me all strewn  |  like wooden pieces of a broken doll that dropped out the back of a moving van  |  how can i be so embarrassed about what i lack ? i wake up inside the body of a man every morning and fear  |  she loves me for it  |  how can i be  |  a question that doesn’t take to a hook or mark  |  standing in front of a crowd  |  i imagine myself naked and trying in vain to cross my legs  |  to tuck it out of sight  |  but the hair gives away the game  |  i know i come from the great Y in the sky of science  |  my

chromosomes bleeding softly out my ears  |  i try to staunch the flow of it but  |  that just goes against how much the universe has expanded in the time since  |  Tāne parted the great curtain of flesh to get the lights working  |  for the first time  |  and the last  |  where is my mountain  |  what the fuck do i whakapapa to if the chain has already been broken so many times  |  did they eat Cook in the end ? his statues are only just now beginning to leave us  |  say goodbye to the Coromandel my sweet and rotten murderer  |  where you once sat with Green and watched the transit of Mercury  |  the report said you were cast into the sea but being cast into the sea brings to mind images of choppy waves greener than pounamu  |  the rock of your memory being pulled into Tangaroa’s great maw  |  where he consumes every part of you  |  even the powdered wig  |  not what the photos reveal about your memorial  |  just a beached chunk of cement  |  stuck  |  and staying put like an infected tooth with its roots deep  |  your claim is on the roads and you will pull them into the ocean with you out of spite  |  measuring what lengths it will take to leave us naught but dust to feed on  |  grubs bursting with pus  |  tuatara bloated on the harem of weta  |  there is a different version of death everywhere we look  |  the wharenui of settler colonialism is an ancestor with such a hunger for death  |  that it’s still killing to fill the hole inside itself  |  this hole is reflected in me  |  a mirror that throws a negative onto the spaces between my

ribs  |  where i’m pulled inside-out by it  |  turned into a ghost  |  there is something terrifying about seeing through yourself  |  i look in the photo again and it’s not a coastal scene or statue ripped up  |  but a little boy trying to get the devil out  |  the devil being boyhood itself  |  the photo shifts into a liquid glistening all silver and poison  |  my pale fingers disturb and twist around a little girl now holding the holes in the arms of a sweater to keep the cold out  |  gripping pieces of a puzzle  |  Hagrid or a dragon or a scene from a space opera about the connection of all things  |  and war  |  she is scared of getting erections or becoming a savage  |  firing blanks into the night sky  |  she craves to see a transition  |  i haven’t known my own experience  |  i haven’t claimed anything darker than the belly of a whale  |  pressed against the beaches of the east coast  |  i am complicit  |  i am complacent  |  i am a singular abstraction stretching over a sheet of glass  |  my own makeshift plate  |  swab me down to see what kind of colonies grow in the conditions of my

body  |  what kind of colonisation spawns from passive inheritance ? a tongue i never learned to use waggles with a language that was never given to me  |  it’s rolling in r shapes on the floor tumbling back and forth  |  i can taste the fur of the carpet  |  feel the bite of the staples as they try to pin me 2-dimensional  |  the phlegm of Scottish or the hum of the reo  |  a man and a woman incoherent in my shelf  |  a library flooded out  |  parchment drenched to parchment  |  leaves of words blur together trapping me as they dry shut  |

About the author
essa may ranapiri (takatāpui; they/them/theirs) is a poet from Kirikiriroa, Aotearoa / they have words in Mayhem, Poetry NZ, Brief, Starling, THEM and POETRY Magazine / they will write until they're dead