A black summer night, no moon, the thick air
drenched with honeysuckle and swamp gum.

In a pool of yellow torchlight
on a knife-blade, the brand name
Hickey Miffle—
I give in to meaninglessness, look up
try to read smudges of ink
a live squid squirts
across the seats – now the smell of the river hones
an edge inside my brain,
the night sky, Mallarmé’s first drafts.

Who can I talk to now that you have left
the land of the living? The sound of more words.

The moon rolls out from the side of a mountain
and I decide to earn the rent;

the net pours into a thick chop,
a line of green fire running before the moon’s light –

does four-inch mesh have anything to say tonight?

The mulloway might think so if they could –
Ah, Wordsworth, why were you so human?

On Friday nights I fork out comfort,
but tonight I work with holes, with absence.

I feed out a half-mile of mesh pulling the oars;
this comes once a life, a song without words
a human spider spinning a death web

across the bay. Alcohol, my friend my dark perversion,
here’s to your damage:
who do you think you are?

My mother the belly dancer, my father Silence,
my house that repairs itself wherever I go.

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