Poem, 1 December 2019

I wish I could stop searching and be

A good enough apartment
A good enough job
A good enough social life
A good enough yoga practice
A good enough routine

A good enough family
A good enough diet
A good enough wardrobe
A good enough mental state
A good enough world

An adequate revolution
A good enough city
A good enough transport system
A good enough list
     of good enough things
A good enough world
A good enough world

wet vacuum

Did you ever dream
you were suckling?
I did, once.

A mouth filled
with the breast —
not my mother,
not Gillian:
the breast

A mouth filled,
inner skin
lined with skin,
a mouth, an I,
I, an I,
space filled
with a firm cushion
sealed in by my
wet vacuum,
moulded, changed by my

They weaned me at nine
Onto a cup
No more wet vacuum
No more
changed by my action
No more
inner skin lined with skin

What a good girl
Look how grown-up our
girl is

After that I sucked my own
It has a hard centre
It gives no milk

First published in Creatrix 35, December 2016

The dust-encrusted crush

Unlike you, kid,
she says,
he never did anything —
just kicked balls
and chased rabbits

At 12 I watched him, 15,
tossing hay off the flatbed —
tanned deltoids,
torn singlet,
low-slung jeans,
calling to the cows

I never got to touch
his dull white scars
or hear his
baby cry

His was the cry of the power tool —
the diamond saw dividing a brick,
the rotating driveshaft sticking out of the back
of the tractor, the three-point linkage

I wrote him imaginary letters,
the dull white voice of the paper
flickering in my hands

Last time I saw him
I was 29 and married
The dust-encrusted crush
shook itself off,
rose and swirled in my head
like a ghost violin,
but there was nothing
we could talk about
Like she said
he’d kicked balls
and chased tails

The door with its old brass hook
where once I’d hung
my cowy heart
stayed shut.

First published in Creatrix

Man with a gun

In the queue in the chemist this afternoon
I stood behind a man with a gun
An armed guard from the ATM money truck

The gun was in a holster on his right hip
I wondered whether it
was loaded

I thought about the barrel
the trigger
the bullet at ease
in its little room

The gun had a wooden handle
smooth, honey-blonde
I tried to imagine
the man drawing the gun and shooting it
He aimed for the leg
I saw a suburb
a woman
a baby
I tried to imagine him
shooting to kill
The terror, the blood-rage
The eyes
blown to bits

I have halved with a kitchen knife a small snake
beheaded with a hatchet a chicken for soup
clubbed with a log a cat-ruined mouse
but I haven't fired a gun
Not yet

My father had a butcher's knife for sheep
an axe for chooks and ducks
a shotgun for birds
a rifle for steers and cancer-ridden cats
I saw how he worked the knife and the axe
but he didn't teach me the guns

The man in the queue was no more than 30
He had short wavy hair and a pale neck
He asked for strong headache pills
Pulled out his wallet

First published in Creatrix 34, September 2016