1992

My little brother lies dead in a box.
He no longer exists. I believe in no soul.
His tall thin body will rest with the rocks.
I watch them lower it down the hole —
I, our parents, and a hundred friends.
The flowers are beautiful but they won’t last.
Among the trees and the community’s past,
among the headstones, he utterly ends.
Don’t preach to me about Jesus and dreams!
Don’t try to tell me what you think life means.
The eucalypt birds don’t talk about death.
Each of their shrieks is an unthinking breath
that tells me he’s not looking down through the air
on Mother’s sadness and Father’s despair.

Adam

1990

Adam is walking, tentatively, but not to my outstretched hands.
He is saying a few words, but my name’s not one of them.
His smile is a green light, his voice is a windchime,
but he’s always asleep when I call.
I’m sending him a gift
that his mother will like.

1991

Adam
my godson
I saw you three hours new,
not pink or shriveled — I was surprised.
But I could not touch you:
I had a cold.
Now it’s two hours in a plane,
two years in a blink,
and I still don’t know what to bring.

(First published in aversion)

Bald and Hairy

Bald is pinkish, minimal, contained, defined.
Hairy is dark, lavish, uncontrolled, soft-edged.

Bald wears steel-rimmed spectacles and adds up numbers.
Hairy has reflector sunglasses and bellows songs.

Bald enslaves his wife.
Hairy trashes televisions.
Bald crushes spiders.
Hairy keeps snakes.

Walled Bald wears flannel trousers.
Lairy Hairy stretches lycra tights.
Businesslike Bald has a mortgaged mansion.
Hellbent Hairy has a monstrous Maserati.

Behind every Hairy, there’s a Bald.

(First published in WordThirst)