by Jamie King-Holden
On the back verandah, Thomas Silver Snr., ex-labourer, ex-pilot, ex-milk-bar-entrepreneur, ex-wannabe-‘nam-vet, stands guard beside the smoking rotisserie like something gothic. I watch him straighten his tissue paper hat, a parenthesis wrapped around his leather ears, now, purely ornamental.
Mrs. Alice Silver, part-time-air-hostess, part-time-lawn-bowler, full-time-worrier, sometime-crier, slices boiled eggs and tells us we are all going to die from smoking.
It’s Christmas. Cicadas scream down at us from the river gums and Thomas Silver Jnr. (bigot-council-worker, bigot-father, bigot-Australian-rules-supporter, bigot-astronomy-enthusiast, bigot-bigot) begins to tell us the problem with homosexuals. I poke my ham. I hold my breath and make a list.
Dexterous, oyster, fountain pen, calcium, sex.
Thomas Jnr.’s children are tearing around the plastic Christmas tree like two Aryan tornados. I try to join in on their game.
Arsenic, test cricket, homo sapiens, Napoleon, caramel, partisan, love.
Taking a recently extinguished piece of my aunt’s plum pudding, I retreat to the axe-initialled peppercorn tree standing stoic and bruised on my grandparents’ front lawn. One street over, a family belts out a drunken rendition of ‘Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds.’
The wheelie bin on the curb overflows with Christmas litter. I swallow my pudding.
Wind chime, alphabet, ink, anarchy, corn flakes, unhappiness.
Jamie King-Holden lives in Geelong and studies literature at Deakin University. Her first book of poetry, ‘Chemistry’ was published by Whitmore press (2011). Jamie co-edits the literary zine ‘Windmills’.