Childhood like a blackened book


That never fully burns
Only chars and smokes and smells the whole place out
And stains your hands, which smudge the walls
Marks your clothing so that in polite circumstances

When kindly, patronising strangers are looking at you
They will say, “dear, you’ve something on your dress,
no, not quite there, just there – just there”
Pointing with artificial concern

As you brush yourself with ink black hands that print and stain
Mumbling that you don’t know how that could have got there
You’ve never seen that before
Oh goodness me

It must’ve rubbed off from that book, that burned and blackened book
That chars and smokes and smells the whole place out
And still you can’t stop reading it
Your house reeking of cancer

Your hands that never wash clean

A re-me-view of Dare to Discipline by James Dobson via Thomas Day. Look for it in all good bookstores. And when you don’t find it, be grateful.

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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