The Mosque Killings, Christchurch


By Michael Mintrom

It’s a small city, all avenues and parks.
Autumn has arrived. The leaves on oaks
have turned red. Some scatter over lawns.

Others are crushed by passing cars.
We breathe in quiet gardens, feel
the earth tremor.

Some weeks, we desire the big world.
But not much.
Then came ‘the darkest day.’

That’s what the Prime Minister called it.
She stood among us and prayed for the dead.
She wore a hijab. She outlawed the weapons.

‘Kia Kaha, Kia Maia, Kia Manawanui’ we say.
Words to face Winter —
Be Strong, Be Steadfast, Be Willing.

Michael Mintrom grew up in Christchurch. He wrote this poem to capture the sadness of the mosque killings, and to honor the display of community spirit and unity which followed.

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