an Aotearoa poetry journal | ISSN 2744-3248

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Tarot #07
Tarot #06
Tarot #05
Tarot #04
Tarot #03
Tarot #02
Tarot #01

A Changing of the Guard

A first mourning.
Protocols veil
customary expectations.

A    single   tear —         
grief’s initiation.
Navigating unfamiliar exequies.
The tear that
dammed an avalanche
somehow yielded.

I imagined that
I had witnessed the

            ———stretching ———membrane
straining to contain
the world.
Swollen heavy with the burden
of what was expected.

A draughty church,
stale and
cold with duty.

And my father in the aisle —
                         carrying his own.

A solitary tear —
resting visible on his cheek,
his sadness surrendered.


Private grief witnessed
on public display
from the second row
where I stood stiff
behind hard pews.
Senses assaulted
by hollow hymns
the peculiar dust and draft
of occasional religion. 

I sought reprieve
complying for respite
these structured rites.
Saturated by eulogies and prayers.
My father’s tear
doused such childish expectations.

I broke protocol,
weeping countless tears —
                       as the mantle passed to him.