A Record of Our Trip (Nebraska)

12 February 2012
There was wind
between the clouds and the earth
when we argued on the beach
an easterly
		cloud darkened day
that whined past our ear holes
and picked up the sand
that covered our ice creams
our teeth
whipped the skin of the son and the daughter
and made the baker
nag customers 
to close the door when they came into his shop


Things I said to you
into your sunglasses
went unheard
by the kids
or maybe they ignored 
for the ecstasy of the wet mud-sand 
that they could cover each other with
free of consequence


The son pointed to an albatross 
that swooped on a crab
the size of a meat pie


Wind noises
between my words
	from a nail gun
		I hate you
		I’m going to pack 5 shirts
		And leave
you threw sand
that was hard to gather
it was so wet and thick
only a sprinkle hit me
which made you madder

and you sat away
in the easterly wind cocoon
to soak up the hate
to move the clouds
the water, the sand
following the albatross with the big crab in it’s beak

people all around
walking dogs
children thrown in the air
like it is was all fantastic
in this wind


Later in the surf at Skene’s Creek beach
I helped the son
ride a board
for the first time
	something unforgettable that belongs to me now
like the black cockatoos
above the surf
the mountain behind
your hands on hips, smiling at the son on the wave
		that belongs to me 


At night
outside the beach house
reading quietly
old people inside with all lights on
loud air conditioner
louder television

drowning out the crickets that flew into your back
my face
making the night hotter

six small flashes of lightning
in an hour
showing a pocket of horizon

way 		away


In the morning
I didn’t tell you how beautiful you looked
on purpose


on the walk
with the son and the daughter
we saw the sea urchins
the dead penguin
shark shaped rocks
caves with couches
a bolt drilled into the rock

the wind gone then


Back at the house
the old people
talking over lunch
how they could buy as many toilets as they wished
 from the second hand barn
you could also get shoes
orange juice


You, the son and the daughter
slept all the way home
through the flat farms 
between Colac and Ballarat
pines, oaks dead, from World War I
no music in the car
all the way home
replays of the argument on the beach
and old people in the second hand barn
interrupted by a slow tractor
a trailer with a bag of wool
a hawk
everyone asleep

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Neil Boyack

About Neil Boyack

Neil Boyack was born into State care in 1967 and married in Las Vegas in 1997. Hhe lives with his wife and kids in the bush on solar panels and water tanks. His work has been translated into French and Chinese, and published throughout the USA, Canada, and Australia. He has written a range of short story collections Black, Snakeskin-Vanilla, See Through (UQP) and the acclaimed collection from 2003 Transactions (The Vulgar Press). Self Help and Other Works (One Eyed Girl), a collection of poems and pieces, was released digitally in 2012. Most recently his more personal-political short-short works have come in the form of booklets (non-digital) Million Deaths and Unimagine. Recent poems and stories have been published by Gargoyle (USA), The Literary Review (USA), Cutthroat (USA) Best Australian Poems, and the recent Telling Stories anthology. He is the creator and director of the Newstead Short Story Tattoo.


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