Where Are All The Men In The World of Light

By Kathleen McLeod

The first time we stood beside each other in Te Ao Mārama, sunlight cracked open my ribs and a great wingspan extended from the bones, larger than the room or any of us in it. Wings beating the air louder than my heart. My dreams told me this was healing work, soul work, an understanding of patience. You made promises in what was said and unsaid. I said everything I could, I said nothing at all. You didn’t make any promises in my dreams, you just walked to the edge of the veil with me. At the top of Mount Taupiri I waited in the mist, each time you were there beside me. You came so far yet hesitated over and over again after each climb, waiting to judge me worthy of love, turning your face away from the work.

Over time I sacrificed myself to the edge of a mountain you put between us. I lost my bravery and the hope I’d allowed myself, I dreamt of the exact path you would take away from the fulfillment of the world of light. I survived false promises; I survived to see you had put enough distance between us that I now stood precariously on the edge of where you’d exiled me, waiting for you to reach out, knowing you wouldn’t. Falling. The wingspan of my ribs folded back over my heart for protection.

When we last stood together in the world, you had hidden the light inside a putatara no one plays now, gathering dust. I cut my fingerprints on a shattered teacup, I dipped the blood in the soil of the whenua and painted my forehead with blood and dirt. I planted the work in the whenua, burying the whare tangata, my house that you will never make your home. I saw where I froze in the mist from waiting so long. I walked exhausted through the veil without you again, I gathered my wings around me to soften in the sun.

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