Seven Years, to the Day

1 February 2015

His cursive writing. His presence.
This old green logbook to help find lost bushwalkers
Makes him seem right behind that ghost gum.

Blood that took half a decade to purify.
This man, my father who lay in this hut.
In the top bunk, shivering, small, broken.

The bravado had worn off – his boots
Were giving him hell, he wore mine and
I wore thongs. I didn’t stop for boulders.

We walked out back of the dam for a few days.
After his son lay face up beside a grasstree. I wrote:
Sitting here on the ridge, those tiger snakes are still out of reach.

I hoped he might join the dreamers,
Start walking, maybe write some poems
About kangaroos and red-tailed black cockatoos.

But he blamed himself, after blaming everyone else
and we haven’t spoken for seven years.
I return to the hut, to the day, written in the logbook.

I run my finger over his handwriting,
His abbreviation for Mundaring mirroring mine.
He’s not here, he’s not here.

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