I wanted a Sesame Street
kind of holiday -
sunny and sanguine;
relief for the tired therapist
with just the tea, the cream cakes.

Behind the film of history, shadows:
a black line was formed
beyond which colonists
drove out the

At Franklin square, a statue built
by a public grateful
for the doctor who cut up the body
of the last Tasmanian

Near there, ghosts -
the Mouheneener, whose names
are on the lips of
museum guides, stopping
to console visitors.

Up the road,
punishment stations
where men went to church in chains;
plodding on treadmills
to grind the bad out of them.

Behind glass
I sip tea, and eat cake –
soft, dark and light –
cutting through layers;
threads drop
onto the plate.

Sarah Penwarden is a therapist and counsellor educator based in Auckland, New Zealand. She has had more than 40 poems published in various literary journals in New Zealand and Australia including Poetry New Zealand, Turbine, Meniscus, Southerly, Quadrant, and takahē. She has had short stories published in tākāhe, brief, and a story broadcast on Radio New Zealand. She also writes for children and has had short stories and poems published in The School Journal.