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Olivia Nonoa

Funny Valentine

(A tanka/haiku sequence for Michael Boyes)

i. (In disbelief)

We are all just bones –
you were sleeping, not dreaming,
and your hand was warm.

ii. (Recovery)

One by one by one
we will return, like ants do,
to our works of art.
We are all marching forward:
but you! you finished your dance!

iii. (The second day)

Today, there are clouds
in the sky, and a little breeze,
and you are gone.

iv. (ICU)

I put my liquid
liner in the vigil bowl –
someone out of sight
made a small comment that it
would be a good gift for you.

v. (The third day)

My eyes remain un-made.
It becomes hard to swallow.
It is dark, outside.

vi. (My best memory of you)

Red wine theorising.
My eyeliner hugging your
eyes, like the sixties.

vii. (A surprise)

Today, on the bus –
fawn leather jacket, beige pants,
turtleneck sweater,
with a well-kept wooden cane
I see – You: at Eighty-Two.

Olivia Nonoa is twenty-four, lives in Wellington, and has dark hair and the occasional need to write things. Olivia says, ‘The poem fell into seven parts organically. It was not until much later I remembered that Michael Boyes donated his organs to seven different recipients.’