The dull river water, a monochrome spectrum
of sediment, settling. Smooth and unhurriedly
yielding. Marshy lapping in the shallows,
with mud crabs for rocks. Cigarette forevers.
Boat houses surrounded by Seventies children:
the deep brown starts here. The tectonic drift
of square, nicotine-tanned teeth. A parrot
in relief. Totem tennis, ramshackle cricket.
Gravel music, fingers drawn through an ashen beach.
Preened into pigtails, the child in the floral pantsuit
kneels, hopscotch sprung, moulding a volcano
from dirt piles, dust clouds like rising steam.
She draws stick hieroglyphics in precise formation,
before standing to acknowledge her audience, uncertain
in her newfound spotlight, blue-eyed in the tropical curtain
of a grass-clipped Fathers’ Day, softly dimming.