Fiction    Reading Room    Memoir    Interview
Ashleigh Young

Giving My Father Frights

We discover no end of windows
of opportunity for giving my father frights.
           Our house is for hiding in.
We crouch in the porch, waiting for the bend of his shadow.
           The frightening of him
happens in slow, simultaneous motion: we leap
and my father’s feet
explode from the floor
and like a man falling he roars –
           we nest in the pantry. He comes searching for tea
and finds us instead, flared eyes and limbs
springing at him, blowing chip packets and muesli into the air –
           we fold into chests
                      we hang motionless in the long curtains
           we hide in his suits, in the wardrobe
and once in the ceiling –
           dropping like spiders onto the bed
beside him, as he is sleeping. There is no sound
like my father’s roar, its fury and fear,
each time we burst out at him
like the living dead.
           It is the sound of wishing
           for a time when
           a doorway was a welcome
the pantry unforthcoming
the wardrobe hung only with clothes:
all the empty suits, waiting.
Johanna Aitchison
Michele Amas
Angela Andrews
Airini Beautrais
Jenny Bornholdt
Amy Brown
Lynn Davidson
Emily Dobson
Fiona Farrell
Cliff Fell
Janis Freegard
Helen Heath
Anne Kennedy
Stefanie Lash
Jan Lauwereyns
Vana Manasiadis
Talia Marshall
James McNaughton
Alice Miller
Gregory O’Brien
Frances Samuel
Robyn Schiff
Marty Smith
Elizabeth Smither
Chris Tse
Nick Twemlow
Ashleigh Young   (audio)

Hosted by the New Zealand
Electronic Text Centre