Tony Beyer

Tony Beyer

A writer in Taranaki, Tony Beyer has had recent work published in KokakoOtoliths and takahē.


Wardrobe

1

the sort of gowns
only characters
in Chekhov or Ibsen wear

pale pastels
to contrast among sisters
lighter to darker in age

flat-chested
but ruffled around
the hips and shoulders

nothing to distract
from those long
expository monologues

 

2

the sorrowful
tingle together
of coat hangers

as clothes
are removed
for the last time

to go to
daughters
the charity shop

the rag bucket

The Dynasties

the loudest cricket
was kept by a boy
as a pet in a matchbox

its voice poured alike
into the dreams
of peasants and warriors

outsinging the emperor’s
purebred black champion
in a gold filigree cage

moist grass by the roadside
gridded concrete ventilators
in house foundations

rusted tobacco tins
terracotta plant pots
tipped on their sides

best of all
the subtle acoustics
of an empty watering can

from earliest childhood
I loved hearing their song
from my bed at night

a comfort to know the world
would continue through my sleep
and be there when I woke

A rock drain laid to channel away storm water

which ancestor and his sons
first widened the conduit with shovels
carried in and bedded the stones
has been lost to the farm’s memory

the land itself was first seized
then given as a grant
then sold on in a sequence
of historical misunderstandings

lichen attached to the flat rock surfaces
obscures their genealogy
under the calm hills cleared for grazing
plantations of sturdy Northern Hemisphere trees

First published takahe 87
August 2016