Pukapuka Books


Wednesday, June 16, 2010

On the Death of your Mother

That morning I woke up and I put around

My neck the black and white scarf

Which several years ago I stole from your house

As a close memento of you to wear

I had not worn this, my favourite scarf,
For many moons so I knew something was afoot
When Des came running by the Raumati shops
Not a place I’m normally at on Saturday morning

And told me that your mother had died less
Than an hour before I felt the scarf tighten
The surprise was no surprise, this is the way
We are, bound together but we must be apart

I spoke to your father and gave him my aroha
And I tried to contact you and others all day
All were travelling to or from somewhere
All were out of touch through their journeys and grief

When you rang me in the late evening, saying
You needed my car to take you home to Whanganui
I felt neutral, even aloof, just waiting for the deluge
Of thoughts and feelings which I knew would come

I met you off the train at Paekakariki Station at midnight
And when we walked arm in arm along the platform
That closeness and aroha I have only found with you
Rekindled like embers left sleeping overnight

I kissed you goodbye and realised a fulfilled destiny
The reason why I had bought a car at all
Many years ago, had in my mind, been for you
And now, when you needed it, it was here

It all fitted so neatly like a fate unknown
Until its revelation, which is then shown
To be so simple, and openly mocks us
So deceptive and beguiling that it shocks us

I didn’t need to go to the marae to farewell your mother
As I had planned: my role was yet again to support you
-          I cannot hold you . . .
So I take off the scarf till the next time we say goodbye

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