in a world without mirrors.
I could see, myself,
that my skin was rusting,
that my body was falling from me
while I still lived.
Who gave me this ugliness?
They were afraid, as if to see my sorrow
were to touch it.
If there was anyone to know my extremity
it was myself. My arms and hands which seemed
to turn to stone.
There was stone around me.
And on the stone, slow lichens,
or by the ocean at low tide the stones, ragged with weeds,
the opihi, more ragged than I,
and sometimes turtles, with their old men’s heads,
would rise in the waves and look at me.
I began to choose the most twisted trees
to sit beneath as I mended my nets.
I admired the way
they’d taken their shapes from the wind.