new zealand electronic poetry centre




Karlo Mila

On joining Pasifika (25)
(for Jo)


When I first met you
we were learning to siva
wearing lavalava tied in awkward knots
our work clothes carefully folded away
both of us
learning a new dance
both of us
finding a different way to move
through life

We have hustled and bustled
and power-walked well
sacrificing the grace
and ease of movement
our grandmothers held in their hands

When we met
both of us
were trying to remember
that earlier beat

Both of us trying to reclaim
a new dance from old memories
both us standing shyly
in the back-row
trying to siva in our sports socks
both of us searching for a rhythm
we’d never quite
been able to find
within ourselves

All of us trying to find time
to ta’olunga
to meke
to tamule
to siva
into our truest selves


From Dream Fish Floating