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Contents Page: Oct 1, 2011, vol 7 no 3

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Patricia Prime

The Barber

My daughter's house is on the bend of a winding dirt track, with the hills behind, and the town below, a glimpse of the harbour silver as a fish, and in the distance the Franz Josef glacier, sharp against the winter sky.

In the evening, the Barber causes a plume of fog to form over the Grey River. It descends through the broken-toothed trees of the hill and sweeps down the valley towards Point Elizabeth. It is sweet then to shelter from the chill in her house, lighting a log fire, heating a stew on the stove. Together we interpret signs. There's a rainbow over the ocean the day I arrive, and another when I leave. A kea, with its red under-wings alights on the veranda. A weka pecks at some leftover bread. Days flow by: the mornings too cold to leave our beds, black wind and slanting rain, shine of yellow sun moving gently from window to window. And snow so heavy the road is closed.

through close-packed snow
sturdy boots

There's a tree in the garden with boards in its branches, built by children long ago. We discover a few of their lead soldiers and dinky cars forgotten when they left the house. We climb the hill, and sit together, watching the last rays of sun die across the Rapahoe Range.

no moon tonight
a possum skitters
on the roof

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