The Slake

The white sun has prised open the earth.

We tried damming the slim creek,

but it came to no more than exertion.

Dad said his back was too stiff to bring in

the dead lambs, so we went down

and opened the carcasses for the foxes

to come in after dark and take their hubs.

The paddocks are worn blankets

nailed to the earth by bent, leafless trees.

The snakes feel the sun roll their backs flat.

The tall sun swabs the paperbark dry.

Pop wanted “a closer look”, so I wheeled him

off the cement and into the paddock.

Flies sip sweat from his neck. We stop

and he curls out of the chair; lies belly-down

in the dirt. There aren’t even any roots below

to reach up and take him down.

“This time it’s gone too far.” The wheelchair

stands behind him like an empty bucket.

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