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Tim Grgec

Taranaki Cathedral Church of St Mary


One morning, when the light was bleeding
in through the glass,
I wondered whether
he actually looked like that,

I watched the robed figures
pass silently. Hard soles
hidden, weightless
across the blood-red carpet.

At communion
Nana and Grandad told me
to stay upright, to dip
the wafer instead of drinking –
because it was more hygienic.

They told me it was the heat
making you tired,
making you toss
against the sky’s cotton blanket.    


Now, every Sunday,
in soft, sudden tears,
Nana and Grandad light
a candle. When I visit

without sleep, still drunk
from the night before,
I can hear the white wax burning.
The light holds
in the quiet,

like at bedtime
when you’d leave my door just open,
so I wouldn’t get swallowed
by the dark.


When Nana and Grandad close
their eyes, old faces
leaning forward like lamps,
I can’t help but look up
at the high totara arches

the brass tablets that read
in a roll of honour:
Whilst I bow down in grief like the tree fern,
Thou has gone by the morning tide.

I can’t help but look down,
deconstructing all the years
of labour piece by piece.
The carefully shaped stones,
the smoothed bends.

I carry it all with me, out
past the lychgate, until there’s nothing left.
Only a shadow
in the blue, ordinary morning.

Tim Grgec is a 23-year-old postgraduate student of English Literature based in Melbourne. His poems have previously been published in Sweet MammalianMimicry and Salient.