The Box

I couldn’t think with that selling blaring on.
I wanted to build a thought construction.
A shape I knew would last. A model to keep.
But the brute football, Coca-Cola, cheap talk, stale drama
Cast-plastic quick-fix trinkets
Kept breaking in.

I stood there, trying to beat it. Fighting hard.
Steadying a portion of thought while pulling
Another close for gluing—concentrating.
Then a studded vinyl-clad multi-function baby weapon
Laughing, smashed my work.
Pieces of verse

Lie about me.
Stooped, I gather them.

My brother is dead

I am unbreakable.
I am built of crystals of words
and I am unshakable.
I am made of modern metal
and I am unbendable.
I am sheathed in thin Teflon.
Nothing sticks.

You are broken.
You were made of small twigs
and now you are broken.
You were struck and shattered.
You are unmendable.
You are sheathed in thick earth.
Nothing sticks.

(First published in The West Australian)

A Census of Moonbeams

Was that what happened when you were born?
Was there a census of moonbeams,
did quiet night counting slide you into existence?

And when you learned to walk
did they film you with moonbeams?
Child of children, did you fall among flowers and fools?

When you came here to learn how to live with moonbeams
we held our breaths.
We have taught you everything —
how frail they become after youth
and how they need shining room, but pale if you boast —
and now, we hold our breaths.

What will you do tomorrow, when you come of age?
Will you take a census of moonbeams
and if you do, will your loud counting kill them?