I wrote this poem for Roz Palethorpe. It is called Keystone.
The phlebotomist wanted to know
what I was going to do with the rest of the day.
I said I was going to write about pigeons
Not the Wellington ones
which always made me feel
starkly urban, or melancholic
But the white-breasted parabolic diver
equal opportunity parent
The phlebotomist wanted to know why pigeons
so I told him about you
and the letter to the editor
who I imagine missed them.
Not a lot of wood pigeons in Paris.
My girlfriend grew up in a place called Pigeon Valley
Some Māori say they represent the presence of feminine beauty
which I tell her so I can watch her blush
I tell the phlebotomist that the wood pigeon
is a keystone species
because no one else does what they do
Imagine that, I say
as he draws my name on the labelled vials
and frees my arm
Imagine being that significant,
that special, a vital
spoke in the system
Yeah, imagine that says the phlebotomist
as I hop to unsteady feet
and point myself towards the sunlight
in which I will sit
and Google the bloodline of the Kererū
so I can write this for you.