the second edition of ‘HKWV101’

for beatrice

My mother, hair afire and gold rings tarnished from castille soap, does not speak her reo.

She cradles pounamu close in her ear lobes but does not know any kupu Māori apart from kia ora and that’s about it.

Her eyes are kind but when she speaks

I recognise the edges of my tongue.

I am the only child who knows a karakia kai, and I cycle through the words in my head,

rolling the words around my tongue like Tangaroa smoothing limestone white and gold in te Moana-nui-a-Kiwa.

Every so often I’ll catch my lip on a…

for sam

sometimes i look at you and wonder why you havent left a trail of broken hearts.

why people don’t fall over their feet when you walk by;

and then i remember.

your feet fall so softly on the earth, so gently,

that the wings of a pīwakawaka are louder — yet

your presence here is not absence.

people don’t fall over,

they simply watch.

they don’t break their hearts over you,

because there is nothing about you that could bring pain.

ahakoa he iti he pounamu.

“despite being small, you are of great value.”

when you are around,

Café-borne internal monologues.

Photo by Maddison Rowe.

I’ve escaped to the café down the road that replicates a homely, warm space so I don’t have to be confronted with people who care about me.

Sometimes being around those who care about us is so exhausting. It’s like having to take vitamins every morning. The pill becomes harder to swallow every time you do it until you just let yourself be iron deficient for one day so you don’t have to taste another dog food-smelling capsule.

I don’t want my friends to come round and cook me dinner or make me tea or shove me in the shower…

“Lily in my living room”, taken by Maddison Rowe.

red is my favourite cardigan, passed down from my mum, wrapped around my waist, protecting me from how harsh everything seems to be

my best friend lily’s favourite colour is orange which makes sense because her energy is chaotic and bright and she’s the only person who would pick up the phone at 3am to talk me down from an impossibly high expectation

a forgiving and soft presence, illuminating, effervescent, the colour i know to be irradiant calm and coincidentally a colour that’s good at passively absorbing tears as they come, grief bouncing off lemon yellow walls

breathing in fresh…

Dating requires patience, and I’m not here for it.

Insanely blurry photo of the Wellington skyline from the waterfront taken by me. If you want to be deep about it it’s a reflection of loneliness juxtaposed with a bustling cityscape.

I hate the idea of Tinder. I think it’s vapid and shallow and insanely judgmental. Our parents and our parents’ parents kinda did the same thing when casually dating, although they went out to bars or cafés or met through friends, etcetera. They never had to truly worry about the dichotomy between who you are over messages and who you are in person. I find that I’m quite witty when I’m messaging people. I’m brazen, hugely flirty, more intense than I’d like to admit, more willing to share personal stuff. But if I like someone and I meet up with…

Maddi Rowe


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