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standing under the ex-wife’s house    concrete pillars covered in the 
hieroglyphics of grubby little hands    pieces of antique chairs hang 
that we had planned to restore together    arm-rests of that old coach, 
the old dining table that belonged in our first house, silent in this 
elephant’s graveyard of carved husks    there are the spider legs of a hot-
plate that fed the guests at our little boy’s Naming Ceremony    when 
I realise, I’m caught    gazing over the past    this ensemble of assorted 
relics    she’s been busy under here    making the sander scream    the 
electric plane has been driving the kids nuts as she shaves the timber    
the skins of furniture from one of my lives    golden curls of treated pine 
sit in a pile at the foot of her workbench    I remember reading Robert 
Adamson’s poetry the day she called it quits    over and over, I read the 
poems about a troubled boy and blonde-mop of curls    I look down and 
my own little boy has found a pile of shavings    grabs a handful in his 
muffin-fist holds it at me    falling through his grasp these curls, 
What are they Daddy?!    They’re pieces of my brain, I tell him    and he 
tosses his fist into the air    particles swab us like pixie dust    the 
afternoon sun steals through    catches the golden flakes and my little 
boy’s toothy grin    he wakes me before I drown in a tide of old regrets    
Look here Dad…I’m playing with your memories!

More from this issue


On Guan Wei

HEAT 5. Eggplant Dreaming
Eggplants first appeared in Guan Wei’s work more than a decade ago. They appeal to him for their colour, shape and sheen and because they have an element of danger. According to Guan Wei, eggplants are considered slightly poisonous in China, a liability eliminated by cooking them with garlic. 
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