Poetry

what did you want to be when you grew up?

dad, did you ever want to live in a treehouse with a monkey butler? wear a helmet made of an ice-cream container? hoon across a sun-bleached bonnet like a slip and slide? rob a bank with an exploding umbrella? be as small as a toy soldier? burn holes in your enemies with your red-hot- pincers? eat twelve weet-bix for breakfast and shit out a comic-book printing press?

dad, did you dream of standing as tall as a skyscraper? did you hope to tickle clouds like a helicopter? when you first saw a train did you ask it directions to the altar? when you cocked your hand into a pistol did it quiver? when you heard floorboards creak did you wait for a howdy or dive for cover? how hard can you ride into the sunset before you realise your body is on fire?

dad, was your heart always the shape of a dying star? when you raised your fist into the air were you astro boy? could you feel your limbs rearranging like a transformer? did you have a shield made of cardboard? how long did it take you to run a field? was that ever enough?

dad, did you ever plant a time capsule with a note inside saying, you talking to me? did you ever smell tin and copper and leather and polymer and diesel and think, i’m happy? did you ever lug a trunk over your shoulder and not buckle under its enormity? how many times can you kiss a tv before you realise the hum in its lips is static?

dad, how long after a shadow is subsumed can you fear it? do you still hear his car pulling up in the front yard? have you ever wondered if your whole life is after dark? when the words rush out your throat are you still the boy hiding in your friend’s backyard? how many times have you come out from under that house? how many times have you shown love that is fearless? how many times did you want to and not know how? how many times have you dreamt that this could all be different?

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