Elizabeth Welsh


or arriving at Otakamiro

longshore drifts
pull her
to Otakamiro Point
: so she comes.

Touching tongue to upper lip
her tick recurs
as she flies back,
flocks, pre-dawn,
like they do,
to sit haunched

on the grit path
at Maukatia,

sucking breath
through gaps in her teeth
and willing herself
to imprint
the slow pull
while sand-gannet-painter
all leap,

small emblems
to paint.
just what she needs

to harness
this errant city:

witness to witness to wit.



Elizabeth Welsh is a poet and academic editor from Auckland. She is also an academic researcher, specializing in modernist New Zealand literature; recently, she spoke on Katherine Mansfield at the Sorbonne. In 2012, she won the Auckland University Press–Divine Muses emerging poetry prize. Her poetry has been published both in New Zealand and internationally and she is currently working on her first collection.

Welsh writes: “‘Sleep-flight [or arriving at Otakamiro]’ speaks to the desire to capture a longing for place and the tension involved in trying to lay witness to Otakamiro Point and Maukatia. At its heart, it translates the difficulty inherent in the act of recording memory.”