Special Class

I dreamed X in a swimming pool a man on the side with a stopwatch a race I in the water too with others all competing

I dreamed X won because part of the scoring was on how elegantly you moved your body I just couldn't match her flow I would move nicely for a while but then my muscles would rebel a distracted twitch I couldn't get my parts to synchronise whereas she

She won a trophy “Special Class” it said and I was both jealous and glad jealous because I didn't win glad because I didn't want the trophy object cluttering my bookshelf and needing to be dusted and justified

First published in Uneven Floor, October 2016

Read my new poem in The High Window. My essay on Daoism and the poetry of Randolph Stow, Judith Wright and Ursula K. Le Guin. My recent Creatrix award and publications.

The excellent online literary magazine The High Window have just published issue 8, Winter 2017. It includes my poem One, two, three alongside many other good poems and an interesting essay about James Joyce by Neil J Burns. Issue 7, Autumn 2017, includes my essay Daoism and the poetry of Randolph Stow, Judith Wright and Ursula K. Le Guin.

Creatrix 38 includes my poems “Coffee” and “The dappled shallows”.

Creatrix Anthology 2 includes two of my poems, “The secret slip” and “Dadda”. The latter was highly commended in the Creatrix Poetry Prize 2017.

Dadda

At Cottesloe Beach, 2015

Dadda! Dadda! a toddler screams
Dadda! Dadda! Dadda! Dadda! Dadda! Dadda!

Dadda is chiselled, hard-bodied, striding up the beach
in rash top, mid-thigh shorts, expensive, tight
Under his right arm like a rugby ball
he carts a little girl
held horizontal, facing the ground
wriggling and kicking against his grip
screaming what she thinks is his name

By the shower he dumps her
She lands on her feet with a visible thud
He pulls her dress off over her head
yanks down her pink suit
with its frill around the hips
Having gotten her naked
he turns on the cold shower
shoves her under
She flinches, clings to his legs
He brushes water over her
with flat swipes of his palm

All this time she is screaming
All this time he says nothing
and his face does not move

A group of tourists stare
Even some of the locals look

He turns off the water
pulls a white and brown striped towel
off his shoulder

At last he will wrap and embrace her
I tell myself

He wrestles the towel around her
twists it into a knot
hoists her under his arm again
marches down the beach
Her wet things dangle from his left hand

All this time she is screaming
All this time he says nothing
and his face does not move
All this time I watch

First published in Creatrix 34, September 2016