Title: Sport 18

Publication details: Fergus Barrowman, April 1997, Wellington

Part of: Sport

Conditions of use



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Sport 18: Autumn 1997

Jane Gardner

Jane Gardner

page 36

The Fast-Food Restaurant

(for Alexei)

She eats two pies over
the morning paper, blouse gaping.
Zak, says her left shoe. Someone screams.

Clusters of balloons hang under
the strip lighting like invaders
in the system. There are odd purples

among the pastels. Small kids
swim in a pool of plastic
balls, weightless again.

Older ones hurl themselves
down the slide or hold
territory at the top. A boy gets green,

foaming liquid in a cup. Look
inside here, he shouts. I know how
life evolved!

page 37


I heard she'd shifted
to Brisbane. Queensland. Left wind, rain,
a bag of my childish rubbish
for dust, sweat, mosquitoes at five o'clock,
suburbs of no footpaths. When she

was here, she always seemed inclined
elsewhere. Facing the sink, hands awash,
her legs were up for grabs, my head rested
on her spine again, again
she heaved me away.

Once, my radar caught her
at twelve o'clock, back to me,
stopped by a shop window, butt
lower, less accessible than ever. Ever
was the time before birth. Knowing

now, I had to move on.

page 38


Stroking stubble, he blows smoke
at the ceiling. Cath's flabby
after the kid, leaks milk.

Shirl has a harder frame, she made him
bottle Sam at night. He'd preferred
soft Cath, her moans flattered

when Shirl's didn't. Shirl's red-head rage!
Cath's hair has lost its way
like tattered grass. He wants her

heart hot, creamy. He dislikes
the green bitterness in the corners
of her mouth, lined like her

leather skirt. Shirl wants him
at some school do for Sam's sake. Cath'll
come reluctantly, again. She'll clutch

the kid hard and she and Shirl won't
see one another.