To lift that latch
was like pulling back a trigger.
Breath held, the downslide of steel
eased into clips of rain on galvanised roofs,
sucks of wind bloating mother’s sheets.
Father’s jacket, nest warm
hung on the outhouse door in a crumple
of plaid patterned wool.
I felt for shape,
found slim white smoky fingers
swaddled by silver slips.

A captain seaknotted my stomach
‘Players Please’
captioned under his smile.
His seablue eyes were deep as the distance
Father kept from me
his youngest, snail trailing across
afternoons he slept it off
before the night shift. I shook
like the thin white bones rattling
inside his box of matches
struck in shadowed hollows of hands
cupped around pink lipped flames and whiskey.
I lit that flicker
took the powdery taste of him
deep into my throat,
dizzy with love.