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By Briar Pomana (she/her)

Following the loss expressed in ‘Te Pō’, Kōtare offers peacefulness against the backdrop of grief. Together, these pieces encapsulate the notion that light exists in darkness. Like night and day, we cannot have one without the other.

When I died, I awoke as a Kōtare My family often return as birds I suddenly recognise the street below me as my own. Perched on this wire in the sky, I can see all the way to my moana in Mahia.

I am calling out to the rising sun that still lazily sleeps. Maranga mai, maranga mai, maranga mai.

The glow of a bedside lamp makes out the figures I love. They sit on beds and lean against their bedroom doorways. I make a fuss, flying closer and landing on their windowsill If they could look out and see me, they’d know, he kaitiaki tonu ahau.

I am calling to them but their sobs drown me out. Mātakitaki mai, mātakitaki mai, mātakitaki mai.

I watch on, flitting about as they take a picture down from the mantle. I see their fingers trace my face as their tears absorb the glass’s dust. They close their eyes and I reappear in the darkness. I soar there with my father, my sister and my baby by my side.

I am calling to them with all my strength from te pō and this time they hear me. Karanga mai, karanga mai, karanga mai


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