Wheelbarrow

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A whiting catch tipped into a wheelbarrow
stiff and stacked, silver asparagus
drowned by judiciously filling
their mouths from the tap.

In that eye blink in Brisbane’s heat
when a wheelbarrow was a bath.
With flopped legs we ballooned
our seersucker togs with hose water.
That crystal force flooded the cells
of the bubbled material.

Full of cement.
Slosh and grate, shovel and chop
becomes dull-bodied and rushed.
Keep out of the way.
Just watch! Blood vessels trussed
with arm sinews under strain.
That quelled, incomparable sheen
of a wheelbarrow of heavily setting cement.

In a photograph, my older sister, feet apart
baleful in front of a weed-full wheelbarrow.
The loads we trundled to the dump.
Metal-rumble, quake-full of cement blocks
like broken handkerchiefs
the canine teeth of glass, bent strips
of aluminium.
My father carried his heart
bolted to a wheelbarrow
where he could see it.

Wheelbarrow, truculent, pushed like a bull
at a red-towel-toreador;
left out on the lawn in the dark, canted
a metal carcass.
Moonlight hits the handles, dully glistening
close to dawn.

Wheelbarrow with a pillow.
We rolled our baby sister and the dog
hard as we could down the side path.
The dog’s ears, pinioned with a clothes peg
jolted crossing the drain.

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