Bitter William

The first born's a nong and yet they give him
the hat and stick and jacket. Now golf's easier
than tennis, than anything I've tried, than all the ars

combined, and easier than memory – what colour
were your eyes, your hair – I speculate on your underwear.
You're vanishing, or the thought of you is less indelible,

the image of your form in the lab now a sunlit
shimmer – soon only a name, a half-remembered
gesture, my hand on your vulva between classes.

Still my brother's the better man – more domestic
than feral, suburban not dilettante – a glamourless,
blameless middle. Saturdays he carts the attack

all over the park; he shines as though all the shims
and wedges of the mighty were exerted at his whim;
how he wields the earth! And I'm laconic in the stands,

expectant as an aged passenger, static and seething,
where once I was unencumbered as a eucalypt. So we live
up here tethered at the whip-end of a steaming coil

of asphalt looped around the mountain – bachelor
captives on a hillside dairy where the buried forebears
set up a ceaseless chatter. Were I to go far from this place,

I'd miss the cows' gentle lowing, the town shopping strip
there below, the amateur theatrical society, Sunday mass,
the idiolect. In the manipulative sky, the implacable faces

of the angels decry my several murders, uncomposed, alone.

Written by the pseudonymous Flannery O'Malley, and first published in Cordite #23: Children of Malley,  April 2005.


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