A Daughter's Wooden Fable

‘Make a mucky mix with dirt and stone.
Pray rocky sides scratch your limbs’

It was at the forked post, a heifer’s tit where
she didn’t know which wood to use.
Father’s broken hands would spread well—rows of femurs she’d
sown on the Aramac chain where
red dirt chews rain, rain licks grass; teasing in its globules.

Antlers pierce through the mire, interred for half that decade before
hot-streamed piles of wood were crafted for irksome saints.
Wood he drew like his cheroot—sucking, grabbing—air to gulp,
smoke to breathe, whims to flaunt, scotch to swig.

Eats his words, drinks his weirs, gobbles his tablets—Agarol and Epson salts.
Any old drug to tickle his gut—spicing his innards so they’d splay like
crushed possums on sad charcoal roads that never lead anywhere.

Boxers stood at her lair with squashed mouths. Puffy snouts
halted, not limpid like spaniels. Stiff lips above barrelled chests with
smooth pads under paw reminding her of soft stone.

Not glossed like a schoolyard stonker—
more oddly rounded like matte river pebbles
dried on land’s edge where knots of gull shit made
white peaks; white noise.

Each paddle attached, but webbed in their separateness—
Quartered with a thousand shapes and junctures, while dogs
in the offing scratch dirt, salving dry noses on a wet garden.
Baring bloody teeth—their eating bones, shackled at the post, fettered to
a foul wooden copse, dogs eager to be plucked, kept on uneven mantles with hands older; knotted with ganglion—winged paper knuckles. Buckled and bulbous and moist from sweaty gloves.
Humidified skin pressing down on keels where desiccated
blood on oars that never move, neither plumbed nor wet,
go unnoticed.

‘The indignity of death waits for those
who saw through woods of time lost’

‘One’ might find that cure for jungle fever with
a witch’s hat and her velvet tongue.
Seeking revenge from a snakes lobe where ‘ones’ duty is to wear a
lollipop flavoured smock from a grandmother’s musty closet—
strung with wire pegs, rusted from laconic tears, shaped from a virgin womb.

So with that velvet tongue and witches hat (orange, it must be orange)
Find the mulberries before worms spin leaves for silk, while licking branches to
make fruit fall.
For there are cures for drunk girls like you with your wincing face—
wilting eyes slit with complaint, lips smacked up all violet. Cheeks a ruse—
an artificial cause of caring where faces cram puckered voids of skin like
fissured moon craters.

‘Bones intersected by a dying river
spread themselves thin, breaking the keel of the eventide’

Ruffles, gilded guns—
I never saw guns,
so removed am I.

I plucked, then plundered—
seafarer hands of my fathers,
veins in my legs of my mothers with
that grainy icon of him; dead and lacking.

Concrete coloured eyes sinking into some stale brain where all it took to
hollow out a skull
was a barbed shank, a naked hand and two grubby, vinegared feet.

Held high. Held tight. Thrown down.

I watched the feathered wheel with a motley eye—
the other, buried in my father’s laboured hand, winched from his milky face—
stigmata on my own face where
roots of moles
were webs
under
glass slabs.
The wood of the table rotten. Sort of threadbare like that dying blanket
everyone has.

‘The bible sits on a cold hearth,
whispering much; showing nothing’

A Daughter's Wooden Fable

Carly-Jay Metcalfe

Joined December 2007

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