By | 1 May 2021

I am a long acceptance of things rusted on
a passive agent of decay:
a sick flow, blooming/spreading
down weathered stair treads,
the rotten stench of paperbark trees rising,
a window-slung bed sheet, trapping heat.

I am complicit. I give and receive in equal
measure – a deep trouble settled:
the verandah and its war-weary
collection of baby things,
4pm starts, dark/dangerous – his kitchen
chair perch: rugby shorts and bare chest.

The idea of going is intermittent, delicate,
bursting quietly under hangdog skin
outside of the choke
when the wind/blood gets up
and the boiled night spills from hallways,
up/down streets: family lines and Bibles.

I grow middle-aged/ugly between walls.
I lay belly-up, like the letter D.
I imagine playing dead
my body, carried away by insects
better that, than the hunting inside this
blunt menace: mill town engines/denims.

I imagine the road out, serpentine sure,
hugging the thickened river’s gleam
past smashed bauble middens
surveyors’ pegs marking hot spots
for every broken angle here in this place,
each fall, effortlessly close to the branch.

Under my eyelids, the vivid flicker of flight
pictures – cheap rooms! ice cold beer!
the town’s deadpan whistling,
pocketed hands by the river,
generational harbours and hideouts for
pounds of muscle, straining at the chain.

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