Door against the cold

Someone is dying tonight.
Someone always is. A life springs up,
then folds together. White rocks,
a last drink, a black umbrella.
Mum brings in wood, two under each arm.
She could have carried us like that.
Across the street, in moonlight,
she squints at something.
The dead should come back changed,
or what’s the point? The beach cools,
she hums. Hand over hand,
the stacks of kindling.
The waves flicker, the harbour’s brewing.
The ship is a sort of dark undoing.

Oscar Upperton has published poems in Sport and Metro. He lives in Wellington. (Don’t read my dad’s poem. It blows.)

Oscar comments: ‘In this poem, I tried to capture particular memories—a night at a bach in bad weather, Mum stacking wood in the fireplace on a winter evening. The memories and the images add up to an emotion I can’t explain another way.’

Poem source details >