Four bananas

Scrape margarine across eight slices 
of white bread, raspberry jam and Nutella 
and Marmite and jam again. Eight sandwiches – 
two each. Cut and wrap. It’s not enough. 
Add four bananas that will come home bruised 
and blackened mid-afternoon. Seal in four 
plastic lunch-boxes. It’s not enough. A thump 
of backpacks and a wrenching of zips, 
this daughter smiling and this daughter 
sullen, and these two in a stumbling panic – 
Don’t slam the door, don’t leave me here 
beside myself – these two, my hatchlings, 
my little ones, are gone, fallen through 
that bright rectangle to where the world 
waits with its claws and teeth, its every kind 
of sharp and sudden thing… 
I would halt traffic to let you pass, 
I would snarl and swipe at the dogs 
that bound from driveways, I would 
smooth and make safe and contain but all 
I am is here, I am always here – I wipe away 
the slopped cereal, inhale the sour smell 
of your rooms as I make your beds, 
the sheets in which the grains of your hot, 
dry bodies threshed all night already cooling. 


Tim Upperton has published poetry and fiction in Agni (US), BravadoDreamcatcher(UK), LandfallNZ ListenerNorth & SouthSport, and Takahe. He is a former poetry editor for Bravado, and judged its poetry competition in 2008. His first poetry collection, Like Smoke, will be published by Steele Roberts in 2009. Tim teaches creative writing and travel writing at Massey University, and also runs after his four kids, who sometimes appear in his poems.