in the Atherton summer.
My nose was bleeding and there
was no-one out, not for miles or months.
had followed the lake boats to Eyre.
He used to tie Jitterbees
to Eagle Claws, and name the bait
after my mother. But
he never caught anything,
not for years, so he named the bait
after me instead.
The devil held my hair back
as I washed my face in the kitchen sink.
The air was sticky and I could taste
ozone in the back of my throat.
The other boys
had found scorch marks
in the western fields, and my hands
still smelled of burnt sugar.
The devil and I sat at opposite ends
of the tiny dining table and listened to the roaches
scuttle beneath the refrigerator.
I watched the devil take the east road,
hands in pockets, eyes on the stars.
kept me company in the door
frame. One day’s walk to reach Cairns.
He had a sprawling gait
and I thought, perhaps next time,
we’d try dancing.