Parallel universe (a poem about New Zealand)

If things had gone differently, home might have looked like this.

If we had split later from Gondwana

if we had not shifted so far north

if the wind howled through the strait

home might have looked like this.

 

If the hand of fire had not sculpted our trees

if the birds were fearless

if the sun had not birthed serpents

if the mammals were not so many, or so strange

home might have looked like this.

 

If the sailors had been more patient

if they’d not thrown worthless trinkets

if someone could have translated all the assumed thoughts

if greed had not landed with those hungry outcasts

if we were not so stubbornly proud of nothing

home might have looked like this.

 

If our accints had clupped vowels

if we controlled the foreign species

if our signs acknowledged mother tongues

if the colours of cash were reversed

if there were mountaintops for the mist to embrace

if you lived around the corner

home might have looked like this.

mountain

 

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