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Essa Ranapiri

FOUND A PICTURE OF YOUR MOTHER


standing next to state housing
seashell garden
pumice fringe
wood panel jut
out in a diagonal

striped horizon flax dress
covered in/made from
triangles of black & white
she has a curious smile on her face

one I kinda miss

it mirrors the emptiness of your grin
your pallid frown
pale jaundice tone to beautiful acorn
guilt

my guilt

the other day I found an exercise book
with blocky script that could have been anyone’s

you had written
something to do with water levels
and saline content

I looked around for poetry
you never shared
after four leaves
nothing
but a diagnosis of
you couldn’t care

callouses from playing with split ends
and sketches spiralling through the margin

I remember you shutting down
that one time on the pavement
shaking on cement blocks
in front of the ANZ

I remember you holding my hand
as we passed the roundabout on our way to
the Warehouse
clammy and nerve-wracked

I remember you taking too much of the hit
your head a lull moving in circles
eyes vacant
as I
sat next to you in bed
my hand placed on your shoulder
firm
as you moved between the world of brittle charcoal deadlines and
sleep

you never learnt to breathe through your nose
and each dust-riddled exhale
and web-pinched drag on the air
keeps the thought in the frontlines
shells emptying
into a husk

the thought that you being here right now with me is a good thing
a healthy thing
a completely platonic thing
a fucked-up-cut-lip-jagged-hook thing
humming the mantra
the stale notes of my inebriated chords
over and over and over

you’re just sad
sometimes

the rest of the time you’re elsewhere


Essa Ranapiri (f.k.a. Joshua Morris) is a trans non-binary individual currently enrolled at the IIML for their Masters. They have previously been published in MayhemBrief and Poetry NZ. They will write until they’re dead.