Mattie Furphy House June 2012

On the path below the verandah
where I sit, discreet,

discrete occasional clusters,
twos, fives, pass.

A man exercising
an unpleasant dog.
A woman striding
fifteen feet behind him.
She projects her clauses
toward his shoulderblades:
‘As she said, y’can get away with buying cheap shoes,
but then Whammo! it all comes back to bite you in the bum!’

I sit, discreet

A father with a girl, two.
Behind them a mother
with a boy, four, the one person

who notices me. Just
as his eyes touch mine,

the mother lays her fingers
on his small
and says, ‘D’you like my cold hands?’

(First published in Jukebox (Out of the Asylum Writers, Fremantle, 2013))