harm less no. 4


when I grow up
I’m going be like him
run like him
be tough like

summer is cracking
spinifex dry
with bb guns
three towhead boys
paper targets
pegged to the rotary line
a fourth sits dejected
pounding balled right fist
against short pant thigh

he’s not big enough
mum’s told him
dad’s told him
they’ve told him once
they’ve told him
a thousand times
when he’s ten
and not before

stuff that
he knows where
the proper one is
bb whatever
it’s all good to go
that’s what dad said
to mum last week
after what happened
at the Marshall’s place
up on the big wardrobe
where the big blankets are
he gets a stool

it’s andy’s go
it’s mick’s go
it’s my go
with cicadas turning the air
to a drill

he’s out on the porch
where he can see it all
the very last moment
that moment
he will re-see later
as the final moment in
the kingdom of childhood
his cheeks pink and sheening

he was waiting for the blam
mick and andy and jo
knowing at last
it was him that done it
but the sweet clickease of the trigger
was all undone
by the violence
of the kick

and then
from where she’d been
tail twitching
dog dreaming
underneath a tree
dry gum leaves catching
in the soft of her fur
Nellie’s sudden
start stop
lifeblood yelp
the wreckage
of all things


By Eleanor Jackson

Eleanor Jackson is a Filipino Australian poet, performer, arts producer, cyclist, writer, gal about town, feminist, freewheeler, and friend.

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