Kā Ikoa

They name him after an ocean

because second children need

to be able to take up space

like only water can.


They name her after a feeling

because when words are too big to explain

the colour of the air between us,

names just have to do.


They name the twins after two mountains.

Their sadness at being separated

forming halos of mist

that creep across the town

towards each other.

Weaving and pouring

into the valley

where the first twin lives still.


They name her after the sound of an omen.

A bird who has two cries;

one that mimics the heart beat,


and the other a shriek that pierces

every bird, every man, with a single stone.

By the time you hear her call

you already know it is coming.

The sound of water on a wound.


They name me after the southern winds.

Not because I am violent.

Not because I am cold then warm

in the same breath.

But simply because I don’t exist

unless I am touching the world around me.

Tugging at the skirts of my mothers.

Beating the water further

and further onto the sand,

breathing in the mountain’s ice

and blowing it through the bones.

But some days I look in the mirror,

and through myself reflected

see nothing

but the gentle dance

of curtains


in the open window.