Unaware of myself through all those years
Kowtowed to someone insincere
Redoubled in forms more haunting.
In the seed of a sunless shallow dream,
My daughter abducted further upstream,
Echoes of carjackers’ jackal-like taunting.
With a super-subliminal ego attack
I tried to pull their vehicle back,
Against the seams of horsepower hock.
By the skin of my soul I was suddenly free
For my body’s hull had stowed a key
And my life outside is the lock.
I have survived the slander and slumber;
In my hand I found the blackmailer’s number,
I was not perturbed by her call and her knock.
The thieves were gone before their time
While I will return long after mine,
To open the doors before I dock.
The investigators arrived on the scene
At dawn. They could feel
From the steel seams which had
Buckled and warped
The heat of the steam escaping,
And as frost evaporated off
Mangled tracks and sleepers,
The heat reduced the metal there
To sludge of oil and deafened prayer.
They could smell the paraffin and coal
And burnt scarves and children’s toys
Before they had opened the doors
Of their vehicles, federally insured,
Absorbed it before they could seal
Their nostrils using protective masks
With labels which read ‘For one use only’,
And before they could unlock the trunk
Containing dozens of numbered markers
In yellow and black, and other trappings
For their employment, I looked back
To where this journey’s seventh junction
Became a rosary bead, no more than that,
Lost in drizzle and loneliness.
Across the rails, beneath the cliff,
A blackbird was strangely strapped in death
To a scorched pine tree’s torso.
I looked down and thought about
Meredith and all the others who
Had boarded that ornament,
Minding the gap,
A handbag strap,
Tickets clutched as tightly
As pessimists hold on to their mishaps;
And I realised in the dropping minutes
That instead of a vessel, this was a man,
The coal in my body, the tracks in my hands.