Kate McKinstry

departure lounge

It’s time to go now, so tie up your shoe laces and we’ll walk.
The tram stop is down the corner and the Excelsior’s singing pokies,
a morning bird chorus. Pink fluoresces with yellow sodium,
blue lights. These are the colours of emergency and easy money.
There is where the old brewery was, now an empty lot.

Climbing tower and weathered silo dare you to bring your torch
and scare the pigeons. Just over there, the Somali kids stabbed Bob
in the lung, reaching for his tobacco to offer a begged rollie.
Opened up, he crawled up the street to slump at his front door.
Here is the shop where hundreds of cocks jerked-off to ‘Classic Hits’

on piped-in music, another hundred bucks, another half hour,
and another set of warm holes. There is the flat where you died
for three magic minutes. Raised from the dead, Jesus saved you.
Also, ambos and electricity. On the corner, there, Gianni got run over
one Wednesday. Rumours of his wealth reduced your generosity,

he cursed you often for not-enough begged beer money, and a souvlaki.
This is the pub where we sat in the locked toilet cubicle, silent,
slack-mouthed, just like that bitch with the tin-can on Russell Street,
who disguised crushed Panadol for an eighty-dollar deal.
There’s our old house where the police came, when Mark busted in

the front door ‘cause he couldn’t climb over razor wire out back.
His DIY impulses failed the repair. Now every junky in town wants in.
We climbed on the balcony with cigarettes, long-necks of beer,
avoiding holes in the floorboards, on western afternoons. It’s easy to say,
but it was a frontier. Now, you and I are already moving on.

Author’s Note


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