By | 1 July 1999

The day her boyfriend came home from gaol
She spilled out onto the quiet street
In a sheer red dress
Which showed her flattened breasts,
Her bones.
And the mad edge of her laughter
Held itself to the neighbour’s throats.

They wished she would go back inside—
Lie on her bed with a bottle of gin;
Sit, in a haze, on the lounge-room floor
Flicking her lighter at a pack of burning cards.

The street could not contain
The riot of her voice;
Her stumbling red shape;
Her bare white feet on their bitumen road.

They preferred the hysteria of her screams
Bouncing off inner walls
Of crushed and shattered plasterboard.
There a fist or two,
There the crater of a skull.
A whole panel gone
Where her pushed her body through.

Their ecstasy lasted a day or two.

Then, at night,
They howled in the yard
Like a pair of ill-matched cats
Tearing at cloth; at hair; at skin,
Drawing each other’s animal blood.

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