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Sugar

Father had a passion for sugar.

He would spoon oodles into his tea

which he would slurp

noisily and joyously.

Very liberally

he sprinkled it over his meals

and bugger to diabetes

he’d be forever in rude health.

It would take more than a little sweetener,

he said, to fell a giant like him.

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Birds

Father made balsa-wood planes,

intricately detailed.

I would watch him

squinting over a tiny part

assembling the whole

with mammoth concentration.

When he flew them

I would chase

the painted birds.

They would glide,

and I would be

deliriously happy.

Hunger

I am lean

and muscular

from exercise.

My skin is taut

nothing sags.

I am at the peak

of physical fitness.

Thus it is alarming

that the cage of my ribs

is an instrument for the wind.

That I hunger obscenely.

Things

My family always loved

redundant things.

Like old motors

kept under tarpaulin sheets.

Things they could tinker with,

things that gathered dust.

They were an odd clan,

extinct now,

defined by the curious behemoths

they kept in their garden.

The Voyage

The first circumnavigation.

Freak waves careen over the side

of the minuscule ship.

Then later, the vast prairie of the sea.

Where there be dragons and waterspouts.

The smell of rotting hemp,

the smell of mutiny,

and scurvy, and isles like turquoise mirages.

Wonder

It was quite an excursion

to the pink and white terraces

by the lake.

They were absolutely stellar

like a staircase for gods

but they stank of sulphur

and bubbled like a bad egg.

When the eruption came

and the lake rose

consuming the terraces

I knew that a wonder was gone.

Conquerors

They had exploration

in their veins.

Rounding the last cape

trimming sails into the wind

taking a giant footstep

into nothing. First they’d

hug archipelagoes,

places where a stray island

studded the sea. Then

they were a mark on a map

an idle dot in the doldrums

where the skies glowed bronze.