Last Flight Home

Cross-posted from

I was on a flight down to Christchurch and talking with my adjoining passenger, an orchardist from Motueka, about the easy things that strangers find in common. Then he was telling me about the recent death of a cherished family member, a loss that he was struggling with, and I felt very sorry and touched by his candour. When he slept for a while I wrote a little poem, giving it to him only at the luggage carousel as I departed. Perhaps he liked it – but I will never know.

    Last Flight Home

    My heart skipped
    When you came
    Boy child, fat brat, little Buddha
    Teaching me again how to laugh.
    Who can scream loudest,
    Spit furthest, monkey up
    Through the gnarled kingdom
    Of the macrocarpa fastest,
    Shinny up the ancient boughs
    To your aerial kingdom of twigs
    Child monarch of rooftops,
    Emperor of all we could see.
    Burdens banished
    When you gathered in my lap,
    Settled to sleep
    Against my warm hollows.
    Rotten apple hand grenades
    You lobbed in the orchard.
    My white limbs reeked like a brewery.
    Tonight we’ll supper
    With the blooded tribe
    The floral skirted elders
    Then tomorrow’s last flight home.
    Look at this snap
    Our faces pressed together
    In that fading time, my arm
    Outstretched for our posing.
    You look pensive, little nephew.
    Did you know then
    That nothing is certain?
    These few keepsakes
    Will take their place
    In my ragtag album
    I so soon a long ago uncle
    With nothing much to offer now
    But love.

       – Jogyata.