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Talking sideways

for Luc


In the drizzle my boy
cartwheels. With each turn different
droplets reflect the constant
sun. Like him I’m humming
to complete the moment that leaves me:

Gee baby, ain’t I good to you….
Some times we cuddle in a shop front
sideways so others can
pass by the ones we want to look at
us. Our sentences run together

get messed up but
who cares? A couple of months after
separation, I called the boy’s mother.
Her Holden hung an endless left to my echo.
She arrived with every song she’d ever wanted to remember

easy on her lips. It was just the once
you understand. But I got real
hopeful. So did my boy. The next day
he learnt to turn


Cartwheels are the best
defence against death
reckons my boy: you move
too fast for that drama queen
whose fingers snap at road statistics. He says

God employs the dead
for those left, knowing
a coffin is just
an unlit window the worried peer into

and, Dad, watch this space.


This space has a foreign name
neither my boy nor I can pronounce
on a signpost that points at an empty field.
Like us, other Sunday drivers
detour from their weekdays, pulling up

in front of the weatherboard church.
Here we are in so far as we appear
according to my boy, although
neither of us is sure
where that leaves us we just feel


Mid 1996, Customs Street West, Auckland


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