Words for Christchurch: Madeleine Slavick

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Madeleine Marie Slavick is the author of several books of poetry and non-fiction, and has exhibited her photography internationally. She lives between New Zealand and Hong Kong and maintains a daily blog: http://touchingwhatilove.blogspot.com.

One Week after the earthquake

Yesterday, at 12:51, silence. Today, a coffin painted in New Zealand seascape for a man named Joseph stays in the ground. I am sitting between two Maori women, who are facebooking friends in Christchurch, asking what they might need. Hand sanitiser, they are told. Also gas canisters, guitar strings, coffee beans. A woman living in a cordoned-off zone says that people in the city are changing, staring into ‘middle distance’, not spontaneously greeting each other anymore. A student in a hospital holds the hands of the people who rescued her. She says, ‘I trust you’ and smiles. She laughs her first laughs in a week.
Photo: Covered vineyards, Martinborough, New Zealand

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