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My father is there, he stands with his back to me, the debris falling like stars through the sky, his body a part of the hills – blue and distant.

I call out to him from the boundary of the field where the road echoes. He doesn’t hear me. I want him to stretch out his arms and have the chaff float all around him. He doesn’t hear me. I want the moon and stars to rest on his palms. He doesn’t hear me; instead walks to the pickup,

gets in and drives further down, over the slope into the field of bog – the red tail-lights disappearing out of sight.

Dawn threatens the horizon with latent shapes and the moon begins to dissolve – its long dream-laced-cloak wavering in the wind.

Stared too long. Stared. Hopelessly gasping for air. The chase still on. Headlights. Eyes taking time to adjust again. The drumming of palms on the steering-wheel. Song, blood-song, the beating drum – the adrenaline – this endless road knowing no route to heaven. The bobbing scut flashing in the headlights. The windshield fogging up. Dart – swerve. The long chase, the short corner rushing up:

As old as I, new beard dripping black from his chin,

dust in his eyes as he waves unperturbed, waving and mouthing, Goodbye, good-bye, good-bye beside a tree as white and painless as aspirin.


Death took all dignity from him, through its first and final stages. His body curled like a foetus, his eyes rolled back: desperately, infinitely, he gurgled for breath.

The heat drew on me as I wrestled to turn him over in his bed, struggling to churn his weight.


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