Lick by Tusiata Avia


 Tusiata Avia reads her own poem Lick, written in response to the work of the same name by Angela Tiatia, in the exhibition Te Wheke: Pathways Across Aotearoa at Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetū.

Angela Tiatia Lick Purchased 2018
Single-channel HD video, colour, sound, duration 6 mins 33 secs

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She’s been climbing for ages now/ aeons/ thrashing the water as if it’s a liquid wall/ splitting her legs in half /and then half again/ as if she might be twins/ that climb through the sea/ as if the sea might be a flight of stairs/ many stairs climbed up in pairs/

She’s been in the water ages now/ malu melting off into the green water/ green water melting off into her legs/ Fijian legs/ Samoan legs in the water/

Water is made of many different things/ salt, after all is just crushed bones/ tears/ broken and lost things/

She’s been thin like this for a long time/ she could the thin woman living inside you/ Oh/ when is she going to come out/ and leave you puddled at your own feet/ like a rotting fat-suit/

She’s been swimming like this for ages/ through the salt in your bones/ and your blood/ and your tears/

Every time you cry she comes out/ thousands of her smaller than the moon/ one of her and then another/ like twins/ or a pair of eyes/ like twins/ or a pair of legs/

She’s been

Oh/ I don’t know

Just a verb/ just a doing/ just something that moves past this sitting/ sitting and waiting/ for her to arrive/