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

My Mother Is a Ghost Living in My Mind

The dead aren’t always buried.
Some live on in silence       separated
by their need to
                             slip
                                   away. From me,
she is forever cold, as if lost
at sea or in undying snowstorm, body
seized by fog or mind disturbed
from collective memory. Who are you?
I ask, Where did you go?
One moment, a farewell;
the next refusing to speak.
She comes to me in crises:
her tearful rejection of me;
my tearful certainty she can’t love.
During lockdown, she’s free to haunt
my absent days and nights until
I call down the heavens to end it all.
The other life I might have known
with her is filament burned
into my mind. A movie
never released; a book
unpublished: these I inherit
as she ghosts me. The forgeries
and false antiques of reconciliation,
long lost phone calls stirring
in the still of night, I learn
to surrender everything in time.
When finally free, hope is broken-
winged and blunt-billed. Downed
by careful navigation and deceit,
I’m left to the emptiness
of another, to embalm and burden
myself, her silence and haunting
judgement born by me as eternal cut.