Best New Zealand Poems 2002
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The wallet

He is alive. And some structure
of hope insists that he keep on living

just as he is – in the middle of his life-web.
But there, nestled like a cat among clothes

I have taken to wash, is his old brown wallet.
Nudged to a near white at the edges,

it gives up nothing but a few coins.
I don’t look. I am his sister.

Though I stand for the moment
in some instinctive temporary relation –

half parent – to him and an old wallet
bled of its red cells.


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