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Here Lies the Giant (from First Fleet)
I regret it. Taking the money, his death.
I have buried the rest of his gold
in the pit beside him.
His end wasn’t quick,
the earth rumbled like a drum
a cloud rose when he landed,
the forest shook out its birds,
swallowed by his cries
heard across the kingdom.
People stopped, took silent,
lowered their spoons, looked to rafters
the harp under my arm echoed his agony.
He lay there breathing, face down
steaming like a dray horse
a newt swam in his blood.
His moaning darkened the skies,
I walked for three days
came back in the rain, he was cold
I closed his eyes
his lashes a brush on my fingers
all night I dug the hole.
My mother disgusts me.
She pirouettes in her new dress,
her necklace, her harlot shoes,
and look who’s back
eggs in his pocket, arms around her waist
does not make him my father.
There is another land, closer to the sun
the voyage is a climb, you must hold the mast
tightly through oceans of sky.
There is a house, like this one,
a widow who saved my bones,
she waits in the kitchen, stirring broth alone.
Shoots have appeared from where he lies.
In my sleep I hear them push, feel the beanstalk grow,
I will sharpen the axe, sit down with my father
one last time, fore I go.
Forthcoming collection, 2021.