Sunday being when I write

‘I want you to know, grandfather,’ writes
a child in a Chekov story, ‘every day
like today I am beaten, there is no one,
not this far, to hold me. I am sending
a letter so you will know, quickly come
to get me.’ And the child in the story
writes his grandfather’s name, and the name
of a big city, and sends the letter
that he never fears in his heart will not
arrive, will make no difference, today
or any other which will break as this does,
and we know as we read we too have written
his letter, we too believing tomorrow
will not forever be another Monday,
and one day the master who beats us
will not be there. It is such a grand city
we write to, the postman we imagine
is always our friend, although the story now
is so far back. ‘Did I write that?’
the grown man asks, it being Monday still.

Vincent O’Sullivan was the editor of Best New Zealand Poems 2014. Being Here: Selected Poems (Victoria University Press), was published last year, and his new collection, And so it is (VUP), earlier this year. Brass Poppies, his opera with composer Ross Harris, was produced at the 2016 New Zealand Festival in Wellington, and the Auckland Arts Festival. He lives in Dunedin.

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