Aotearoa / Artist & Community Development Worker
Currently in 14 day quarantine after travelling back to Aotearoa to be with family

Trixi Rosa is a listener/learner/poet/artist from Punakaiki, Aotearoa (New Zealand), currently living in Melbourne on stolen Kulin lands.


I’m holding a small glass in my hand. It has markings on it, black triangles, very 70’s kitsch. I remember this glass from my ma’s kitchen. I’m standing barefoot in coarse wet sand at the edge of a rapidly flowing river. My feet keep sinking deep into the sand, making me lose my balance and fall to hands and knees. I watch the river, trying to assess a place to enter. I understand that I have just let something go, something that I wanted but couldn’t have. The sense of loss a dull hum in the bottom of my stomach.
I wade out into the rapids, current strong, large rocks bounce along the riverbed, crashing into my feet and ankles. I keep losing my footing and get dragged father down the river. The water sucks me under and I lose hold of the glass I’ve been clutching onto. A manic scramble to reach it before it shatters, leaving broken shards amongst the rocks. Glass back in hand, I move towards the bank and start again. Find a new place to enter. A calmer place.

Now I swim towards an island of grey-brown boulders. They feel warm and solid beneath my palms as I climb onto their shoulders for rest. Midday sun against my back, I slow my breath to meet the rock. We breathe together. I want to lay here, let the cold and damp seep from my body. I want to catch my breath. But then my eyes catch a glistening swimming hole on the other side of this timeless island. Water so clear I can see the gradient of green darken with each meter of depth. I run and bomb off the boulder edge, shattering a perfect surface. Now I am trying to swim to the next rising island, patch of solid ground, but struggling to stroke evenly with the glass in one hand. I understand that I must reach the river’s source to fill my cup. Every time I climb to the top of a sun scorched boulder I get distracted by the swimming hole behind it. This place is so familiar. I want to play. Leap in and then defrost on the rocks. Feel the shifting heat as sun moves across sky. But as soon as I break the surface and submerge myself in icy water, I’m reminded of the empty cup I hold. So I keep moving, from island to island. The river seemingly endless from every viewpoint.


I am passing through a security checkpoint. Bright, white and sterile, it feels like customs or immigration. My hips push against a cold, hard, stainless steel turnstile. Its gleam is menacing and harsh on my eyes. People stand in far corners cloaked in important uniforms. They wear tight lips and badges that also gleam, catching my eye as I try to look at anything but the body carrying them. I push through, my arms full of bright orange sunshine. The colour of setting. No wonder all of the metal surfaces have become blinding, sunshine dripping from my grip. Now I realise that it is oranges I hold, hundreds of them piled high. I’m taking them to my Nan. She is unwell and needs me to squeeze some juice for her. But I pass back and forth through multiple checkpoints. It seems I will drift through security lines forever. The gleaming people stare at my mound of oranges with empty eyes, like they haven’t seen sunshine for weeks. Now I’m at my Nans. She is shivering. I shake out the bright orange blanket I’ve been carrying. Let it fall and settle over her body. She is a soft glow. I lay down beside her and pull the sunshine up around our shoulders. She rests her head on my chest and goes still.


I’m at a big open-air marketplace, with lots of stalls through the centre and people everywhere. I reach over a counter to pull my favourite knife out of the wooden knife-block. As it slides out I realise that the tip of my knife has been bent backwards and the blade is all twisted out of shape. I spend a lot of time drifting through the dream fretting about the knife and asking people around me what happened to it. Suddenly I’m at a house party. I know that I was invited there by a friend, but I can’t find them. I spend a lot of time drifting through the party, bumping into people and looking for them. Eventually I open a door into a bathroom. It has an old free standing bath with a white plastic shower curtain. My friend is tangled in the shower curtain with two other people. They are all laughing and crying. I back out of the room and close the door. Now I am walking through sweeping golden sand dunes. The sun hits me gently, like early morning, and there is a playful breeze. I feel forlorn, anxious and lonely. I come across a baby giraffe. It looks more like an pokemon character the size of a handbag, but I know that it is a baby giraffe. When I pick it up I feel a bubbling joy and excitement. Holding it fills me up. We play as I keep walking through the sand dunes. I bump into the friend from the party and show them the baby giraffe. They are amazing to meet each other. My friend looks down at the sand and sees another baby giraffe, they start to play-fight in the sand. We understand that they are siblings. Now they all disappear and I am again alone walking through the sand dunes. A man who I’ve never met comes to me and asks if I’d like to come with him. I realise that I am lost. He takes me to a wide, rapidly flowing river. The water is clear and green like the rivers I grew up with. We meet another woman and jump in the water together. The three of us play and wrestle and throw each other in the water. There are many other men jumping in the water, it’s getting wild and confusing. The woman and I cannot find the man who brought me there. We enter his house to find his mum and grandma in the kitchen. They tell us that they’re thinking of taking a trip. The man comes out of the bathroom fully clothed and the woman and I realise that we are standing naked and dripping water all over their floor.


I’m riding a horse bareback. My mum is on the horse behind me and my 10-year-old niece, who lives with my mum, is behind her. I’m too far forward and the boney bit at the front of the horse is digging into me. I ask them to move back, but I don’t want my niece to fall of the back either. We’re riding along a rocky track on the edge of a sharp, grey cliff. The rock looks like granite, or some kind of hard stone, not the soft porous limestone of the land where I grew up. On our left the cliff face rises steeply and towers over us so we cannot see the sky. Everything is grey and wet. On our right is a crumbling edge that drops down so far we cannot see the bottom. It’s raining heavily. Waterfalls and landslides cascade around us in every direction. We are so scared. I’m watching avalanches of rock break away from the track ahead of us and I’m worried we will get sucked into one. Suddenly our horse scares at a flood of water and its feet scatter towards the edge. I’m trying to get it under control, terrified that it will slip and we will all plummet downwards. Its back hoof slips and we begin scrambling to grab at the crumbling rock around us, then I hear my own voice say, “it’s a dream” and let myself fall.


© Neptune and Manisha Anjali