Lesley Wheeler

It Is Difficult to Get the News from Poems


Two tuatara day, the writer observes,
squinting past a glass cordon. They’re trying

to hide in ferns. Spying all four is a sign.
These endemic reptiles, messengers

of Whiro, god of death and disaster, have no
updates for me, so I pour myself to the gallery,

nearly to the heaving ocean, for a poetry
recital. Here some cagey wine, prosciutto-clad

figs, and people whispering about the quake.
The laureates, perching on stage, freeze,

third eyes veiled, waiting their turn not to speak
of Christchurch. We count them off uneasily

until one offers riddles. Elegies
with gaps. All the news we need: this lack.