Man with a gun

In the queue in the chemist this afternoon
I stood behind a man with a gun
An armed guard from the ATM money truck

The gun was in a holster on his right hip
I wondered whether it
was loaded

I thought about the barrel
the trigger
the bullet at ease
in its little room

The gun had a wooden handle
smooth, honey-blonde
I tried to imagine
the man drawing the gun and shooting it
He aimed for the leg
I saw a suburb
a woman
a baby
I tried to imagine him
shooting to kill
The terror, the blood-rage
The eyes
blown to bits

I have halved with a kitchen knife a small snake
beheaded with a hatchet a chicken for soup
clubbed with a log a cat-ruined mouse
but I haven't fired a gun
Not yet

My father had a butcher's knife for sheep
an axe for chooks and ducks
a shotgun for birds
a rifle for steers and cancer-ridden cats
I saw how he worked the knife and the axe
but he didn't teach me the guns

The man in the queue was no more than 30
He had short wavy hair and a pale neck
He asked for strong headache pills
Pulled out his wallet

First published in Creatrix 34, September 2016

Special Class

I dreamed X in a swimming pool a man on the side with a stopwatch a race I in the water too with others all competing

I dreamed X won because part of the scoring was on how elegantly you moved your body I just couldn't match her flow I would move nicely for a while but then my muscles would rebel a distracted twitch I couldn't get my parts to synchronise whereas she

She won a trophy “Special Class” it said and I was both jealous and glad jealous because I didn't win glad because I didn't want the trophy object cluttering my bookshelf and needing to be dusted and justified

First published in Uneven Floor, October 2016

Read my new poem in The High Window. My essay on Daoism and the poetry of Randolph Stow, Judith Wright and Ursula K. Le Guin. My recent Creatrix award and publications.

The excellent online literary magazine The High Window have just published issue 8, Winter 2017. It includes my poem One, two, three alongside many other good poems and an interesting essay about James Joyce by Neil J Burns. Issue 7, Autumn 2017, includes my essay Daoism and the poetry of Randolph Stow, Judith Wright and Ursula K. Le Guin.

Creatrix 38 includes my poems “Coffee” and “The dappled shallows”.

Creatrix Anthology 2 includes two of my poems, “The secret slip” and “Dadda”. The latter was highly commended in the Creatrix Poetry Prize 2017.