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

Wearing White

I wear these clothes for my husband.
White, like clouds in a blue sky, and snow
on distant mountains. Like lilies,
and gentle doves flying. The colour of peace.
White, the opposite of black.

We wear white for husbands, for fathers, brothers.
White for the paper they wrote on in black ink.
On my shirt, I wear a badge
printed with my husband’s face
and a black 28.
Twenty-eight years in jail because he wrote
eight hundred anti-Castro words.
Criticism in black and white.

On the day of Black Spring, librarians, journalists,
our husbands were arrested, beaten,
jailed for speaking their thoughts.

We wear white together—wives, daughters, sisters.
White is our voice for freedom.
We gather in silent protest,
white roses blooming on green grass.

When the military beat us, our skin flowers
with colours of bruise—a vivid bouquet
of purple, red, green, yellow.
Of black and blue.

Bruises fade. Protest blooms again.
We are the Ladies in White.
We will never wear
the white of surrender.