Three views of the Rakaia
I swim up the snow-fed braided river of Rakaia.
Unstable shingle bed,
silt the colour of spring melt.
I make my annual sea run.
Held in suspension but moving.
and pulses in my head.
Not a sharp pain,
more of a dull pounding of a hammer.
The roar of the shingle is reverberating,
my brain can’t process properly…
A pink lure catches my eye.
I am far too wise to take that bait.
I am a fisherman.
At the river mouth
I stand alone,
a solitary soul.
Knee deep in hope,
anticipating a tug on my pink lure.
It’s all about the waiting.
I cast above my head,
piercing the surface of the water.
The line dances.
I don’t know what is on the other end.
My imagination runs with the line.
I have a catch.
Catch and release, catch and release.
Until I find the one, the one
for my dinner.
The cobalt Rakaia swiftly moves beneath my feet.
Starting deep and swift.
Force off the mountains.
Getting wider, then separating into strands.
Braided on the Canterbury plains.
Peaceful yet deadly.
They pierce my skin with fishing lines, and hooks,
paying no attention to boundaries.
Twisting, turning and thundering,
my soul is the moving river,
my body is the riverbed.
I spit out a mouthful of fresh water into the sea.
The first ray of the morning sun tiptoes on the pebbles.
The dusk sleeps on the riverbed.
But I am always awake.
Timaru Girls’ High