an Aotearoa poetry journal | ISSN 2744-3248

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Tarot #07
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Tarot #01

Jellyfish Babies

Sea-stripped driftwood as bleached
as bones litters the beach
and the sea is full of jellyfish.

Their bodies balloon
and tentacles trail in billowing columns
like mushrooms floating in water.

Stranded jellyfish puddle on dry sand,
so transparent you can see thin, red filaments
of veins at their heart—a starburst explosion.

The British exploded a hydrogen bomb
from this island paradise.
Thin filaments of lightning sliced the heart
of billowing dust ballooning above your home.
They called it a mushroom cloud
but you saw a giant jellyfish.

They promised there would be no harm.

Birds fell from the sky
as if it were raining stones, and on beaches,
the heat fused sand into carpets of glass.

And months later, when your babies were born,
they lay puddled on the birthing table
like stranded jellyfish—
transparent sacs
with thin red filaments of veins
like a burst heart,

and you could not even hold them.