This one is true.

 by Eleanor Malbon

Bronzewing-pigeon-feather

(Image credit: martyvis. Reproduced under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License)

 

I picked up Dale from the side of the road
just a week before he had picked up a baby pigeon
it clings to his hood as he packs his bags and push-trolley in the back
he tells me that the government covers him for a place to sleep five days a week
but on the other two he has to sort himself out
he’s going to Weston Creek, to Coolo
his hair is cut with blunt scissors
and his beard is sparse
he’s got to be about twenty-three
he can’t work because he’s got no strength in his hands
he tells me they were crushed
he doesn’t say how
eyes roll back into his head as he tells fragments of his story
red hair
blue eyes
freckled hands
weak handshake
silver ring
whole body a dusty blue grey
I don’t even wonder if I could have loved him
or maybe I do, I can’t sort it out in my head
he hunches forward to give the pigeon space between his head and the roof
the heat of the day has well faded now
and I tell him it’s Christmas
he tells me he forgot
politely, he asks what I did today
lunch with the family, wine and cricket in the arvo
when I stop the car he asks
and I give him all the change in my wallet
I don’t have any notes
it’s raining tonight

~

Eleanor Malbon: I write poetry and performance pieces, and conduct research into ecological sustainability. My work often deals with growing up in Canberra, where I still live. I currently work as a tutor and research assistant at the Australian National University.


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Posted on December 25, 2014, in 2014, Poem, The Grapple Annual No. 1. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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