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This piece is about 1 printed pages long. It is copyright © Gregory O’Brien and Jacket magazine 2008.
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Gregory O’Brien

Wet Jacket Arm

Was it a cap
made of thrum
or just the over-
hanging weather

Richard Henry’s ‘fine
country for
the waterproof explorer’
or, as Cook noted, ‘a densely

wooded head’. We came as far
as the end
of most things — Foot Arm
was only a body of water

away. The lengthening shadows
of a rainforest no longer there.
And even the mildest of teas
sipped on the Breaksea Girl

would not sweeten
this pepper forest, nor
evening in its dusky coat
steady these unlevel waters.

Author’s Note: This poem was written down in the remotest part of southern New Zealand, Fiordland, in October 2007. I spent a rugged week on a yacht sailing around Dusky Sound and Doubtful Sound, by way of Wet Jacket Arm.

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