he hated him

the week after his father’s funeral boy 

on a school trip to the museum

see a tatanua mask


used by the people of New Ireland 

in ceremonies to band the world

back to normal after a death

to amuse the girls he puts on the

mask swallow boyface in biggob

open to business pricly teethhine like reefshark

in limewood soothish bloodbrown white

wear sugarcan fibres wear fleecewool

tall cresty rughair

seasnailshells two peeperholes

boy go look him at spirits at everyplace

in braincoral in mangrovetree in ghostcrab

now make him go dance him shankbones

all puppetty skip hop the knuckle

go twist jump stars

rump go wiggle to drumsonskins

hoof and prance go leapfrog moon

kickheel and armfling

go more go boy go quickit

till world all mend


and see him father

again out of whalesleep

helphand him along into nextlife

goodbye him

teacher rips off the mask

boy gasps for a breath

the class is staring at him

someone has been crying in his face


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