Paul Gallagher

Macrocarpa (Cupressus macrocarpa)

He was bruised lucid when I found him,
The ruptured contents of the radiator
Still rising up through lower branches.

He would later tell me oh how it hurts
And ask me to hold him, but early on
In this piece he started with a punch line.

A sentence punctuated by my headlights
And his car: an interjection into that tree.
I should have hit a micro-carpa, he said.

His ribs were once parentheses but now
Broken they leaked prepositions with
Each tick-tick tick-tick of the indicator.

Pink blood foaming (from his mouth)
Pierced lungs filling (up with liquid),
Mottled coughs lost (against tree bark)

Lively smells of seeping diesel are scant
Recompense for red lines of appearances
Across the once-white crumpled bonnet.

Slow eyes lose their landscape here and
His went from bright to pitch black.
It’s okay, he said. I can’t hold on. Period.



By Paul Gallagher

is a poet, writer and journalist based in Wellington. His work explores the discourse between history and memory. He enjoys the fact that the word ‘awkward’ is very awkward. He believes that a cup of tea will make even a bleak situation better. He’s facing a year filled with long haul flights, and would gladly receive any recommendations for reading. He once had a poem included in a collection of work by schoolchildren, and it was terrible.