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EulogyA dereliction of hair vines your face,
and I recall the way ivy hugged the muddy bricks
when we allowed the days to oversee our construction.
I caress the cracked barrens of your cheek;
the epitaph of your smile is scratched in paddocks,
a dusty home for grass-seed dreams left fallow.
We invited rain, but only Autumn attended us.
The parched expanse of your skin invites water,
and I remember the river, clogged with salt;
the soft moans of the withered eucalypts,
and the one tussock of grass by rusted pumps.
Bushfires were a mercy for them.
Your casket moves beyond my reach,
and I hear the creak from when we closed crack-timber gates
and we coaxed the ute out of its charred depression
and we took the few boxes we had saved
and we moved to a caravan on the coast
and we talked of water and weather and we floated...
until now, with only the soft sound
of waves in the distance, and a priest in my ear,
I watch as the fires finally claim my home.
Memorial under StreetlightsRemember:
the drag of grit against shredded skin,
our chilled spasms on concrete pillows;
we were siblings to cracked paint
and the broken windows of orphaned alleys;
our tribe hunted under steel canopies,
each kill stripped, cleaned,
and sold on anew to feed us.
the taste of ozone in the fretting wind
as exhausts roared their challenges;
our wings were tied to the ground,
yet we chased Icarus through traffic lights;
we ignored the bright city's aging, tired song
and crazed through the streets of our youth.
But after the race is done:
when hair resembles a sanded down chassis
and only time still scars our faces;
when the city's slow song is our guide,
and the engines of our minds grow cold;
when the steel of our limbs rust
and our eyes cannot see the road,
On drinking beer alone
Take its mouth like a conch,
portal to a violent sea,
and let its tongue slip
over yours. Hear
it storm against your teeth,
swallow. Do not care
if it is French or not.
We are sommeliers
of a lower order.
Anxiety sinks, thought
fumbles for a raft. Stop.
Remember you are bored.
Worry not: you have half
a case and yourself.
You smile and touch your lip,
drop your eyes to the bottle:
empty as the man
who left you here
helveticaevery day is garbage day somewhere,
and the birds on my street
line the pavement like soldiers
as friday's tank creeps
down the boulevard,
crumbs of newspaper billowing
from its war-torn mouth.
the crows flutter sultry
in the morning sun
toward headlines trailing the street
cramming bold-print helvetica
into their beaks
as the ink stains the asphalt.
the hard year.
in the hard year
the house was a bruise-
blood clotting and pregnant
beneath the wood.
the rooms held darkness longer
and smelled of life in reverse-
our young bodies bent, but tight as clothes-pins.
the flowers in the yard were firecrackers
and more than once I slept
in a weed jungle, fingers stripped cables,
wrapped in chicken wire boxing gloves.
in the hard year,
you hit like your father
and I climbed stairs
without making a sound.
642019"I wrote something
today," I told the
caterpillars on my desk
for the six hundred
time, clutching words
in my fist like a
loose-leaf cocoon, wings
beating hard at my fingertips like
they want to
I peeled the paper
back and watched
a brown moth
twitch and die
in my hands
damn it, crumpled it up and
tossed it with the rest
of the failed
Teenage TaoismGiving birth is the closest I’d ever felt to dying.
Before that, my near death experiences had consisted only of my silent announcement of pregnancy—silent, being that my social media accounts were all deleted almost simultaneously and I never returned to school in the fall, saying without really saying that I had caught the malicious disease of “teenage pregnancy”. I’m sure the whisper spread in the hallways like the Bubonic Plague. That September, sitting at home on what would have been the first day of my senior year, I imagined friends I’d never talk to again saying “she was only seventeen, and so full of life!” at my absence in the cafeteria tables, as if they were attending my funeral instead of talking about me behind my back.
"Full of life," I had snorted then, folding a never ending stream of what had once been my own baby clothes. "Literally."
I walked around like a zombie for the months of my pregnancy, deciding t
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