Long Hollow Head

Pat dumped bodies down
the same gully his father had used.
Over decades they’d created
a silent cataract of skeletons,
a cliff outlined in bones.

One died from neglected
infection of barbed wire cuts.
He couldn’t dig a hole in Foxglen’s rock
so he brought diesel to the paddock.
Greasy roast meat smoke
spread for days. The blackened bones
still showed in spring
where fireweed flowered red.

The horse my father rode to school
lived at Woolly’s farm.
On holiday, I learned to ride
on her broad brown back. Next time we came
she was gone. No one would tell me where.
Her shoes were still there
on the wall of the shed.

Lyle loaded Blondie onto his float
before he shot her. Easy for him
to dump her at the tip. Terry dug a hole
for Sheik, then stood him by it and fired.

A racehorse, forced to forage
along the Numeralla River during drought,
died of colic near the deer farm,
her belly full of sand.
The backhoe scraped
her grave where she fell.
Years later, floods exposed
an agony of teeth
in the long hollow head.

But we don’t eat their flesh.
We don’t grind their bones.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mercedes Webb-Pullman (IIML Victoria University Wellington New Zealand MA in Creative Writing 2011) is a citizen of both Australia and New Zealand. Her poetry has appeared in Turbine, 4th Floor, Swamp, Reconfigurations, The Electronic Bridge, Otoliths, Connotations, The Red Room Company, Typewriter, Silver Birch Press, Kind of a Hurricane Press, and Cliterature, among others, and in her books. The latest, The Jean Genie, explores the work of Jean Genet through a series of contemporary sonnets. She lives on the Kapiti Coast, New Zealand.

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